By Paul Sherman
Published by Dreaming Big Publications
Reviewed by Amy Owings
ABOUT THE BOOK
As a teenager Charlotte strayed into the alluring world of Satanism, where she and her friends each made promises to the devil. Charlotte promised to hand over her firstborn child on its eighth birthday, an oath which now comes back to haunt her as her only daughter, Esther, meets that fated day. As promised, Esther is stolen by dark forces, and Charlotte must embark on a treacherous journey to win her precious daughter back from the clutches of the devil.
I found Satan’s Grip to be a fast-paced and suspenseful read. The action, which included a trip in a hearse full of farm animals, a room full of snakes, and the guidance of a Gandalf-like wizard, built to a crescendo and then met a satisfying resolution. The conflict highlighted the bifurcation of the human psyche into good and bad, as well as the lengths that a mother will go to protect her children. I really enjoyed how the dark tone of the novella was juxtaposed with bits of humor throughout.
If I had any criticism for Satan’s Grip, it would be that I wanted more background information and characterization for Charlotte. As a teenager she was painted to be very wild, with lots of body tattoos and piercings, but as an adult appears mild-mannered and seemingly abhors her body modifications. I wanted to know what caused such a radical shift in her personality, as well as how and when Esther was born, as Charlotte originally believed she would never have children. These details would have allowed me to connect with Charlotte more as a character and a mother.
Overall I enjoyed Satan’s Grip for its unique topic, fast-paced action, and strong mother-daughter relationship.
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.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.