Covenant – Allan Leverone



Lindie and Justin relocate from North Carolina to the small town of Covenant, New Hampshire to start their new jobs. They purchase a “fixer-upper” and immediately get to work remodeling. One afternoon, Justin goes to get them something to drink. After too much time had passed, Lindie goes looking for Justin and finds him at the bottom of the basement stairs in a pool of blood with a pair of hedge trimmers protruding from his body. In the aftermath of the “freak accident”, Lindie is badgered by a persistent detective that can’t buy her explanation and can’t go out in public without hearing the stinging whispers of small town New England gossip. By chance, she begins to learn of the history of her “fixer upper” and it’s not a pretty story. Edward Collins, the recluse tycoon had the house built to some peculiar specifications. Those specifications helped him with his favorite past time – the torture and murder of prostitutes. Edward has been dead for over a hundred years, but it’s hard to keep evil at bay forever.

Covenant is a fun haunted house tale and my first read from Leverone. He commands the story well and you begin to feel for Lindie. At it’s best, Covenant has shades of Amityville Horror in it. There are times that the dialogue feels a little forced and the introduction of a meth-head killer on the run in the middle of the story seemed awkward. It does tie together nicely at the end. All in all, a decent read from Leverone.

3 1/2 Floating Steak Knives out of 5
This ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Blackout – Tim Curran

imageWant to know how to do sci-fi/horror right? Something that takes you back to great cinematic offerings from the hey day of 1980s? Look no further than Tim Curran’s Blackout. Claustrophobic, eerie, familiar surroundings and people, and like a master magician, Curran only shows you what he wants you to see when he wants you to see it.

Blackout is told from the point of view of Jon. Jon lives in your average middle-American neighborhood in your average middle-American town with his average middle-American neighbors. They all feel like people you know in a place you’re familair with. After a neighborhood barbecue with a few too many beers, Jon crawls in bed with his wife Kathy only to be woke up later by weird strobe lights. He’s fighting off a hangover and his wife is missing with the front door wide open. And here we discover that all is not right in ordinary, average middle-America. The power goes out all over and it is pitch black as far as the eye can see, which is only a few feet in front of your face. Strange black hose-looking cables descend and hang from the sky with no explanation. With all of the neighbors trying to figure out what is going on, Jon and their world is turned upside down.

Such a great, great story. Curran’s tale evokes memories of Twilight Zone with Invasion of the Body Snatchers in a delicously retro story that is, at the same time, all original and unique. How he isn’t more of a mainstream name commanding his place on the NY Times Best Seller list, while dreck like Nicholas Sparks and Sandra Brown are, is beyond me. Almost a third of the way into 2015 and Blackout is now my current favorite read of this year.

5 out of 5 stars
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