Dreaming Big Publications
Reviewed by Alison
ABOUT THE BOOK
Inspired by the black magic novels of Dennis Wheatley. 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. But now… Can Charlotte save Esther from Satan’s grip? Or is she destined to fulfill that long-ago promise?
3.5 out of 5 stars
Satan’s Grip broadly embodies the statement “You’ll regret it when you’re older.” Except rather than regretting a whacky hair color or dated clothes, Paul Sherman’s protagonist Charlotte faces the high stakes of her teenage deal with the devil. Sherman artfully blends ancient satanic lore with modern horror tropes, invoking scenes from popular horror and thriller books and films while adding an original twist. The scenes move through varying degrees of intensity, which builds suspense without being overwhelming.
Sherman succeeds in avoiding a common novella pitfall: his story feels neither crammed nor overextended. Satan’s Grip leaves the potential for a greater story, which is intriguing, but also disappointing. While Sherman absolutely told the story he wanted to tell and told it well, he did so at the cost of his characters. Charlotte’s only defining qualities are her satanic past and her love for her daughter. I felt myself grasping to find a connection to Charlotte and ultimately came up short. While Sherman seems to know more details about his characters and their backstories, he does not share them with the reader.
Overall, Sherman crafts a creative and fast-paced horror novella. I would recommend it to anyone who is in need of a thrill.
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.
BUY THE BOOK: https://www.amazon.com/Satans-Grip-Novella-Paul-Sherman/dp/0692675639