When I was twelve, my mother disappeared. I was the first person to never find her.
I’m sixteen now and she has never been found, alive or dead.
I’m not the girl I should have been.
Not all exorcists are created equal- especially those that are “marked”. When defrocked ex-priest, Jimmy Holiday, agrees to help an old friend’s sick daughter, Lucy, he unearths unexpected horrors. Blackmoor, his friend’s new residence, has a dark history that makes it appear almost alive. Jimmy must decide if Lucy is only ill, or if the haunting of the house and her apparent possession are real. After the house begins affecting him as well; seeing colors of magic and his voice taking on an unusual power, Jimmy discovers that he is apparently “marked”. Whatever being “marked” means, Jimmy doesn’t care. He wants to help Lucy. Helping Lucy means performing the exorcism. Jimmy knows the ceremony, but it’s belief that matters. And if a demon is using a little girl as a meatsuit, his faith had better be strong enough to kick it back to Hell. Otherwise, he might damn them both.
In the spirit of full disclosure, Sorrow’s Point is not my kind of book. I don’t do well with creepy. I jump at all the Hollywood studio tricks. Most of the time, my husband is staring at me with a look that falls somewhere between “I married you?” and “You’re so cute.” Yeah, if he wants to watch scary stuff, he is on his own and he knows it.
So, I put off reading Sorrow’s Point until the end of my Christmas road trip. I started reading it at dawn, and finished while it was still light. This was intentional. I wanted enough time to get in something fluffier before night fell. Since I was reading in the car, I couldn’t just turn on all the lights in the house. In hindsight, these preparations were unnecessary. The book is not as scary as I was anticipating, or even as it should be, leaving me to wonder if it’s the problem is with the book…or me. (The last book I recall scaring me was an Agatha Christie title, and I’ve read lost of Stephen King and Robert McCammon since then.) Maybe, I’m not scared when I read?
Sorrow’s Point, I believe, should be classified as macabre. The home, Blackmoor, is creepy because it’s old, opulent, and way too big for the needs of a single family. It’s more of an old castle, two football fields wide, and when the Andersons move into the house, it comes fully furnished. The family learns after moving in–despite real estate laws requiring disclosure of crimes that took place on the premises–a Black family member killed, dismembered, and ate his wife and daughter in the kitchen, an event that cast a shadow over the town that persists until the present. The horrible affliction of the Anderson’s daughter, Lucy, animates the house enough to make it feel alive to those within it, but like watching a stage play, the characters keep the tension between them. Unlike The Stanley Hotel (The Shining) or the home in Amityville, Blackmoor remained a setting for me. Once this was clear to me, I retained hope throughout the story that if Lucy could be rescued, the family could go about their lives in this house.
I could be wrong, and horror fans can correct me, but I don’t think that’s the feeling I should have in the middle of a demon possession story.
And because I don’t feel that I am qualified to judge the book from a genre standpoint, my 4-star rating is based solely on the writing. The prose is mostly good. The narration is clear. The setting is appropriately dark and triggers the senses. The dialog works well. I think, if optioned for film, it would stand on its own in the genre, and would benefit from special effects. My main problem is that in a few places, the author meanders into sections of second-person POV—which uses the word “you.” Rather than characters talking to each other, or the narrator addressing himself, Will addresses the reader and requests participation in the story. It’s a technique that works in some storytelling situations, like Michael Weston’s narrative bits on Burn Notice. In Sorrow’s Point, however, the second-person POV sections feel like notes that were never fully fleshed out. I was yanked out of the story every time I encountered them.
The characters in the story feel real. Jimmy Holliday, former Catholic priest, is a man who is annoyed the responsibility of saving this family has fallen on him, yet as much as he could take or leave her parents, he finds he cannot walk away from Lucy. Will Anderson, a long lost friend from childhood, is one part nice guy, one part coward, one part doormat, and suffers from selective memory. His one saving grace is that he loves his daughter, but he predictably fails in husband, father, and friend departments. Will’s wife, Tor (short for Victoria), is a trust fund baby used to getting what she wants. When she’s not losing sleep or changing Lucy’s IV and feeding bags, she’s cooking. Each meal is more complicated than the next, and she puts three on the table. Every single day. Honestly, for a good portion of the book, I thought Tor was possessed, too, and I kept waiting for her connection to the Black Family.
I have never seen the Exorcist. Not interested. Don’t wanna. Having said that, six-year-old Lucy Anderson is exactly what I expected from what I’ve heard about the Exorcist.
Finally, there’s Tabby, the witch that Jimmy met while he was a priest, and over whom he was defrocked. Jimmy’s a man of integrity. There was nothing between him and Tabby while his vows were intact, but they lived together for several years after he left the church. Tabby is a good witch, with a warm, loving personality. As Will and Tor’s relationship disintegrates over their daughter’s demise, Tabby and Jimmy pick up the slack, put together a case for exorcism, and remember why they loved each other long ago. Tabby was my favorite character in the book.
Sorrow’s Point includes scenes of light magic, dark magic, Ouija boards, torture, physical violence, harsh language, and a young child exhibiting the affects of demon possession, including sexually inappropriate speech and behavior.
***I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest opinion.***
About My Book Reviews