Authors Showcase: A World of Mystery
May 10, 2012
The Book: The Beautiful Evil
The Author Robbi Bryant
The Story:Neither Constance Sartone nor her mother, Madeline, ever recovers from the scandalous and mysterious death of both father and husband, Albert Sartone. After a period of reckless behavior, Albert dies while in Chicago on a business trip. His eighteen-year-old lover, a nightclub dancer, is strapped in the seat beside him.
Madeline refuses to discuss his death with Constance but Constance sees her rip through sofa cushions, chairs, mattresses mumbling. “Where is it? Did he leave it here?” Constance doesn’t understand why her mother burns Albert’s clothing and locks his office, never to open it again. Constance idolizes her father and his death affects her deeply.
Madeline distances herself from Constance, who now spends most of her time daydreaming about her father rescuing her. He often comes in her dreams, riding in a black coach led by a team of horses.
Madeline dedicates herself to the mission of turning her daughter into a proper debutante, choosing her friends, clothing and activities according to rigid standards. The cynical and emotionally bereft Constance lives a childhood devoid of self-expression and connection. She spends most of her time with an imaginary friend from her mirror. When Constance turns eighteen she runs off with an older man, Sam Jacobson. Madeline, furious, cuts contact with Constance.
While visiting Chicago, Constance purchases an antique Greek vase that when opened, unleashes a tribe of wasp-like creatures. At first, Constance believes this is only a nightmarish dream until one of the creatures, disguised as the ravishing fairy, Tisiphone, offers Constance intriguing, albeit corrupt, advice.
Making all the wrong choices, Constance spirals into a world of untrustworthy men, addictive drugs, and finally murder. Emotionally and spiritually bankrupt, Constance stares into the abyss, facing the hardest decision of her life.
Review: “Haunted by the death of her father, whom she lost at only five years of age, and ever since then feeling unloved and unappreciated by her secretive and domineering mother, Constance Jacobson has grown up to be an emotionally distraught woman with little sense of self or self-esteem.
“Rebelling against the husband she believes no longer cares for her and determined to be master of her own destiny, she gets her wish in a frightfully fateful way when she becomes obsessed with a Grecian vase she sees in a curio shop window and decides she must have it at any cost. But once this Pandora’s Box is opened and Constance’s inner demons are set free, her terrible choices lead her into a darkness that may be even worse than insanity.
“One of the most hypnotically disturbing novels I’ve read in years, The Beautiful Evil brings a depth and horror to the story of Pandora’s Box (jar) that I never felt to read the original Greek myth. Mixing a modernized story of Pandora with some further Greek mythology, as well as with other subtle spiritual symbolism and philosophy/theodicy, this is a powerful and frightening novel that will not only keep you guessing as you read, but probably contemplating it long after.”
The Book: Lost
The Author: R. S. Guthrie
The Story: L O S T is the sequel to Black Beast, the five-stasr debut novel in the Clan of MacAulay series.
Denver Detective Bobby Mac returns in this intense horror/thriller, set in the northern panhandle wilderness of Idaho. After receiving a phone call from his brother, the Chief of Police in Rocky Gap, Idaho, Bobby Mac travels north to assist in the investigation surrounding two gruesome murders and the abduction of an eleven-year-old girl.
These two seasoned cops—estranged brothers reunited—will bring all of their experience to bear in a case that threatens not only the safety of a small town, but also the sacred lineage of a family of heroes.
Review: “Like Black Beast, Lost is a well-written nail-biter, showcasing a protagonist who could never be accused of being one-dimensional. Detective Robert MacAulay – a tough as nails, big-hearted fellow who is no stranger to tragedy – is so exceptionally developed that he seems real, adding to the overall suspense of the story because you just don’t want anything bad happening to Bobby Mac.
“There’s an emotional depth to Guthrie’s writing that hooks you by the heart and yanks you headlong into Bobby’s world, and what a harrowing world it is! Missing children, apparitions appearing in the middle of nowhere in their Sunday best, demon possessions, human sacrifices, bloody confrontations between the FBI and the spiritual realm.
“Evil is rampant and only Bobby Mac has the weapon to fight it. One particular chilling scene involves a man who brutally murders his family, Spence Grant. Guthrie forces the reader into Grant’s head, which is not a pleasant place to be. His thought processes resonate so disturbingly authentic that I had to wonder if Guthrie had studied the profiles of actual killers and is giving his readers a glimpse into their minds. Really, it was very creepy.
“That’s it for spoilers! You’ll have to read this good-versus-evil page-turner with a paranormal twist to see how the coolest male sleuth ever goes head-to-head with Black Beast once again! Needless to say, I highly recommend Black Beast and Lost and look forward to the next Clan of MacAulay mystery.”
Review: “Be ready to sit for a while because you won’t want to put the book down to do anything else. Mr. Guthrie is a superb storyteller. The many twists and turns he creates will keep you guessing. You will not only want to, but HAVE to, keep turning the page to find out where he’s going to take you next.
“I sincerely hope the character he’s created, Detective Bobby Mac, will be around for a long time to come. I am totally enthralled with this man. Mr. Guthrie has created a Tough yet Sensitive Guy, A Man with a Sense of Humor yet Pure Professional when the occasion calls for it, A Hero to Humanity and yes, a Sexy and Sweet Lover. This man is all that and more.
“I will read anything R. S. Guthrie puts out. His writing lures you in and makes you a prisoner of his prose.”