First things first, I received an eARC copy of the book through the writers’ agent.
Horror In Jordan’s Bank is the first book in the Horror series, “Deadraiser“, by the husband-wife duo of Wayne J. Keeley and Stephanie C. Lyons-Keeley.
Synopsis : DEADRAISER is the tale of a present-day practitioner who achieves what others have been unable to do for centuries — to raise the dead. The problem is that he must sacrifice innocent victims in order to maintain his power.
Review : A prologue tells us of the murder of a young girl called Prudence Martin. A diary entry (more on that in a while) informs us that Erika Manning, a Hollywood sweetheart and upcoming star, is found dead in her home, decapitated. Her boyfriend is also found dead, a bullet hole between his eyes. Erika was a native of a small town in Massachusetts called Jordan’s Bank. Five years after the death, her agent, Christopher “Chris” McGuire, takes her 15-year old daughter Fanchon to Jordan’s Bank to live with her aunt Meg. The Necromancer, though, is out to kill young Fanchon and anyone else who might come in his way.
The book starts with a prologue, as mentioned. Then there are various chapters named after the characters. They aren’t exactly POV chapters because the narration is still done by the writers. However, with every chapter the language and tone change accordingly. From time to time, we have chapters which, we are told, have been lifted from the unpublished manuscript of Mr. McGuire.
The core story works both as a horror story as well as a crime thriller. The murders of Erika and Prudence are just two in a long line as people start dropping dead once Chris and Fanchon arrive in town. I liked the way the authors kept the suspense intact. Every single one of the ambiguous characters feels like he could be the killer here. There is a dark horse too, one which should become more important as the series progresses to its next chapters.
The horror of the story, which is the top draw here, is interesting in parts. It did scare me at times, to be honest. At other times though, “cliché” is the word that sprung to mind.
There are some characters whom you can take to be pure evil. One of them is killed in the very next set-piece after his outing. Late revelations about the characters’ true allegiances and motives do improve the overall assessment.
However, there were many plot beats which left me underwhelmed. 15-year old virgin Fanchon lays eyes on a local boy and she just knows that a physical relationship is going to materialize between them sooner or later. Like, really? That oversexed? For a supposed co-protagonist, she wasn’t someone whom I could always feel for. The town too is a strange place, stuck in a time warp. At one point early on, mobile phones come out to record an accident (to make it viral). At more than a few other points, we’re told that there are nary if any mobile phones and very poor cellular network in the town. Electricity and roads are godsends, it’d seem! The authors go to great pains at various occasions to clarify things with the use of parentheses. Better description and a trust in the reader’s aptitude would have been a smarter move, methinks. Apart from Mr. McGuire, who I think is the ethical compass of this series, and Fanchon, other characters are either underdeveloped or stereotypical.
The book is light, 128 pages in all. That is one of the reasons why we leave the characters way earlier than when we would have liked to, without any resolution or closure. I understand that a multi-book series needs cliffhanger endings but some satisfaction at the end of each book, beginning with the first, would have been better in my humble opinion.
Verdict : Horror In Jordan’s Bank, despite its flaws, is a decent late-night read. Its horror chills are effective, if repetitive.
Genre : Horror, Thriller, Mystery, Crime, Fiction.
Parent Guide : The book has some sexual content and sporadic use of strong language.
Rating : 3/5
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Thanks for reading.