A covenant is an agreement between two parties to either do or not do something. If the word covenant sounds old and slightly sinister, you’re starting to get a feel of where the story is going.
Joe is a young newspaper reporter that is escaping heartbreak and loss from the mean streets of Chicago and moves to the small coastal hamlet of Terrel. For a reporter, Terrel is pretty mundane and boring. There are no real stories to sink your teeth into. So when he gets wind that a local teenager took a swan dive from the top of the cliff overlooking the ocean, Joe is all about finding out what happened. When he discovers that people have been offing themselves from this spot since there was lighthouse perched up there a 100 years ago, Joe smells a story that gets his juices flowing. The problem is no one is talking. The sheriff and his editor want him to leave the story alone. Not one of the victim’s parents will say a word and treat him like he’s a disease. What is going on here?
Covenant won a Bram Stoker Award for First Novel for Everson and you can see shades of why. At times, the writing and story reminds me somewhat of Charles L. Grant. That’s a good thing. But there are times when the marriage between old school eerieness and splatterpunk rape scenes don’t seem to mesh all that well. Why many of the characters let themselves get into the covenant, in the first place, isn’t entirely convincing. And you’ll want to scream at the top of your lungs when it appears Joe has all the answers in the book he eventually holds in his hands and then acts as if he can’t be bothered to read it. So yes, there are some warts. But, overall, Covenant is a pretty good offering by Everson that shows tell-tale signs that it is his first novel.
3 1/2 horny demons out of 5
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