ABOUT THE BOOK
Esther’s eighth birthday.
The day that her mother, Charlotte, had been fearing.
As a teenager, Charlotte had gotten involved in a satanic cult and had made a promise to Satan that he could have her firstborn child. At the time, she really didn’t believe any of this was true. It was just a silly thing she did to fit in.
Can Charlotte save Esther from Satan’s grip? Or is she destined to fulfill that long-ago promise?
4 out of 5 stars
No matter how clever we are, foolish actions will almost always come back to haunt us. In Satan’s Grip, Charlotte learns this the hard way. In her adolescence, Charlotte, like many other teenagers, saw herself as a rebel and did what she could to appear ‘cool’ to her peers. This included decorating her body with tattoos, piercing her body with jewelry, and, most importantly, taking part in a satanic cult. During a particularly exciting séance, Charlotte, in an effort to truly cement her place as a cool, sophisticated person, promised to hand over her first born child over to the devil when he or she turned eight years old, though in return she asked that she never have children. Of course, things don’t go as planned and years later she finds herself battling for her daughter Esther’s life and soul.
Satan’s Grip, given its short length, has an incredibly fast moving and exciting plot. Charlotte’s quest to recover her daughter from the forces of darkness draws the reader in and keeps them engaged due to its fast pace and rapid progression of events. The supernatural aspects which are present throughout the novella are both creepy and fun to read and do not seem gratuitous. The creatures of darkness and horrific events are vividly described and masterfully implemented. Though the demons and ghouls which are recognizable from movies and television are of course present, it is perhaps the realization and exploration of the evil that human beings are capable of that is the truly frightening aspect of the story.
Though Satan’s Grip is a story of darkness competing with goodness, the main point that the reader takes away from reading Charlotte and Esther’s story is the depth and intensity of a mother’s love for her daughter. Charlotte’s love for her daughter and resolve to save her is obvious through her actions and thoughts. Despite the horrors she faces, she is continually resilient to save her angelic little girl and does not once consider giving up given the terrible odds she faces. Satan’s Grip, despite the supernatural and horrific events, is a story of the relationship between an unlikely mother and her angelic daughter.
While the majority of the novella is handled masterfully, I did take issue with a couple of aspects of the story. Though the quick-moving plot is very exciting and interesting and keeps the reader interested, it seems to move a bit too quickly at times. Due to this, the reader is not truly given a chance to get to know the characters, particularly the protagonist Charlotte, as there is no extensive characterization or real character development.
Though Satan’s Grip is an exciting, fast-moving story of evil vs good and a mother’s love for her daughter, the lack of characterization in the novella prevents the reader from truly connecting or empathizing with the characters, leading me to give the work four out of five stars.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paul Sherman is a teacher, author and director of Youth Theatre. He has had stories published in various hard copy magazines, but most recently, he has had three fantasy-horror stories (The Jokers of Sarzuz, Daemon Page and Missed!) published by TWB Press which are available on Amazon, OmniLit, etc. He has also written poetry and plays which have been performed at various locations in the UK, including the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. His play ‘Kilmainham Kids’ about the children imprisoned in the gaol in Dublin in the 1850’s is shortly to be published. He is currently working on a collection of short stories ‘Tales out of Herm’ all set at different locations on Herm Island, one of the smaller Channel Islands, but steeped in history and mythology and ripe for short story settings.
DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for writing a review. I was not obligated to give a positive review, and all thoughts are my own.