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. 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
If you are a fan of horror thrillers involving satanic cults, exorcisms, and supernatural action, Paul Sherman’s novella Satan’s Grip will be right up your dodgy alley. During her youth, Charlotte’s rebellious nature caused her to make some terrible decisions that have come back to haunt her and her eight year old daughter Esther. She may not have taken the promise that she made with the devil seriously at the time, but Charlotte is forced to face the result of her actions when a mysteriously familiar man shows up to abduct Esther and deliver her to Satan. Charlotte learns the hard way that the devil cannot be trusted to keep his promises, and everything is not always what it appears to be.
The events of this story are equal parts terrifying and captivating. In only a few pages, Sherman weaves a tale that keeps his readers enthralled as we follow Charlotte on her journey to save her daughter. His descriptions of Charlotte’s encounters with her worst fears and obstacles set by Satan’s henchmen are enough to inspire nightmares and definitely make you think twice before partaking in any form of satanic ritual. This story of good versus evil features a protagonist who is resilient in her goal to overcome the mistakes of her past in order to free her daughter, no matter the cost.
One complaint I have of this novella is the story’s lack of background to give context to the supernatural references. We never find out where characters with certain magical powers come from, or their significance other than when they are assisting Charlotte on her quest. A bit more explanation of their titles would be helpful to readers such as myself who have little knowledge about the types of magical beings in the story. Another reason that I have given this novella only 3.5 out of 5 stars is the lack of connection that I felt with the characters of the story. We never find out much about Charlotte besides her brief history with the cult, and all that we know about her during the action is the intense love she has for her angelic daughter. I also would have appreciated a bit more description of Esther’s values and character other than the repeated reference to her role as Mary in the Sunday school’s nativity. However, with this being said, Sherman is successful in revealing the close relationship she has with her mother, which is the foundation for all the events of the novella.
Overall, Satan’s Grip is an exciting adventure into the darker side of human nature and creates a world in which demons and wizards live among us. Sherman’s novella reminds us that the mistakes of our youth may have dire consequences in our adult lives, but also that love can be a greater force than evil.
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 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.