What a powerful book! Beware, this is an intense book, and though a novel, deals with a serious issue - a mother pursuing the murderer of her young daughter. This is just a warning should it be a subject that would bother you.
Evelyn is a successful attorney. But then her four-year-old daughter is abducted, then found murdered and having been molested. Evelyn is consumed with revenge, wanting the life of the man who took her daughter's life. She spirals into the depths of vengeance even though her husband, friends, and the police try to keep her from that dangerous place.
This is a hard hitting novel. Heather has crafted a well written novel that invites us into the being of a mother tormented by her daughter's murder. We feel her passion to find the murderer and see that he loses his life too. We feel the evil that desires her being, driving her on in her pursuit of vengeance. We also feel the gentle tugging of the Holy Spirit as he points her in the direction God desires.
This novel is intense. It is not a cozy read. It is disturbing and thought provoking. It made me think of how quickly evil can sneak into our motives. But it also reminded me how persistent the Holy Spirit is and how the grace of God will persevere. I highly, highly recommend this book (if you can read about the murder of a child). This book is so well written, I am amazed it is a debut novel. I look forward to the next in the "Lure of the Serpent" series.
This would make a great choice for a reading book. The themes for discussion are serious and many. Again, a warning. The thoughts and actions of Evelyn as she pursues vengeance are intense. If the molestation and murder of a child would bother anyone in your reading group, well, just beware of the intensity of this book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
What a heart ripping story. Heather James has written a powerful, and page turning read. It reads really fast, because you want answers.
Evelyn Barrett seems to have it all...she is a top lawyer and has made mega bucks. She has a wonderful husband Eddie, and a delightful, fun, little four year old, Corrine. She appears to have a wonderful life, when darkness descends, and she is about to loose it all.
A filthy beast, a force so evil, has descended on Eddie and Evy, and stolen their child. When their Nanny falls asleep while the little one is playing, she is stolen and murdered.
How would one deal with this, God speaks to Evy, but she doesn't always listen, with disastrous results. One result was, in a way good, but would you want it? She started to smell pedofiles, and she does manage to help the police department, maybe.
Will the marriage of Eddie and Evelyn be able to survive this, and if so how? Will she be able to find the person responsible? The answers are here, along with the pain.
I was provided with a copy of the book through Kregel Publishers, and was not required to give a positive review.
Successful lawyer Evelyn Barrett is comfortable in her roles as mother and wife and attorney, until she receives news that shatters her world. Her daughter has been brutally murdered. Evelyn is immediately consumed by anger and hatred, forgetting everything else in her life as she burns with one desire. Nothing will stop her from hunting down the murderer and punishing him for taking her precious daughter from her, even if she herself must die in the process. And then, she begins smelling evil....
Debut novelist Heather James offers up a fantastic start to a new series, The Lure of the Serpent, a story of murder and revenge with supernatural overtones. The writing crackles with tension, and I was immediately swept up into the heart-break and the suspense that is woven throughout the pages. Before I picked up the book, I was worried the book might drag if the reader was forced to constantly wallow in Evelyn's grief over the loss of her daughter. But if you have a similar fear, there is no need! The book moves at an unstoppable pace, and I found it incredibly difficult to put the book down for any reason. Evelyn is a unique character and I simply couldn't get enough of seeing the world through her eyes. As a parent myself, I could immediately relate to Evelyn as a parent, though I thank God I've never had to deal with anything like she has. The story of what happens to her daughter is absolutely disturbing, and I can't imagine having to live with such a thing! The added twist of being able to smell evil (I won't say more for fear of giving away too much) is a simply awesome trait to give a character!
I honestly find it hard to believe that this is the first novel Heather James has written. It's a keeper for sure! I'm anxiously awaiting the next book to emerge from Heather's imagination! Bonus points are awarded for being a debut novel, and I give this my highest recommendation of 5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Kregel, for the purposes of this unbiased review.
This was an interesting and intriguing book for me. I thought the suspense was quite good; it held my attention from the very beginning.
'Yes, I wanted to die. As long as my daughter's murderer died with me, I was ready to go. I was already three quarters of the way there after the blow he had given to my head.'
It builds from there and I was hooked on that part. The part that was a bit more troubling was the spiritual warfare element for which this series derives its name: 'Lure of the Serpent.' After Evelyn gets hit in the head by the man she thinks has killed her daughter, she comes out of a coma with the 'ability' to smell evil. Not just any old kind of evil, but the rank, malodorous stench of those who molest and abuse children. It almost makes her violently ill each time. I won't give away any of the plot by telling how she puts this to use, but I will say this: 'If only it were that easy.'
I'm sure the author realizes this. True, '_we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.' (Ephesians 6.12, ESV). Yet we're not given the ability to detect those rulers, authorities and cosmic powers simply by smell (or by sight or basically any other physical means). This is why the battle is spiritual and why it is done by faith in the Son of God.
James' characters are fun, enjoyable and realistic. The two detectives_I'm wondering if, as a practicing lawyer, James has run across these two characters. Some of the 'villains'--maybe in the same line of art-meets-work? The one character I wish had been just a bit different was Evelyn' husband. I'm not certain how I wish he were different though. Early on, he's saturated in grieving over the murder of his daughter. Later, he's trying to 'save' his wife from herself, but seems to do this by letting come close to 'killing' herself and hoping she'll learn to grieve in another fashion. Only later, does he act the role I was looking for. A huge mark in his favor, however--when he and Evelyn separate and she's certain a divorce is immanent, he fights for their marriage. He clings to it and won't let go. There is a great model for far too many men to emulate. Thank you, Heather James for that.
It will be interesting to see where James takes the rest of this series. I was caught off guard by the ending, the culprit and the leaving off until the next book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Be warned, the subject matter of this book is powerful and geared to provoke a strong emotional response!
"Yes, I wanted to die. As long as my daughter's murderer died with me, I was ready to go. I was already three quarters of the way there after the blow he had given to my head.
Everything turned black for a moment as the sudden, slicing pain radiated into numbness. Black then gave way to a white, heavenly blur, and I strained to see past the world closing in on me. I saw a brown shirt, faded jeans, blackened eyes...oh, there he was; there slouched the monster against a kitchen counter. He was clutching one side of his chest, futilely trying to seal the singed bullet hole and cupping his warmed blood before it all bubbled out to the cheap linoleum below.
I fought to see more, to take it all in deeper and beyond the fuzziness of my depleting consciousness, but something oozed over my left eye. More blood. My blood. I blinked, but that made it worse, further welcoming the dark, sticky stuff to seep in from my open wound.
His mouth moved; his lips puckered in and out trying to say something. He looked like a fish plucked from the ocean and left to die on a pier caked with bait and spilled guts. I wondered what he was trying to say, or maybe even ask. Perhaps the question of the day for him would have been a big fat, "Why?"
If he had managed to ask that, I knew how I'd respond: "You want the Why? Join the club, you dying carp."
So opens the Prologue for the novel Unholy Hunger, the first book in the Lure of the Serpent Series by Heather James. It hooks you right from the beginning and never lets go until you turn the final page. It is powerful, and makes you question your own response to what would you do if someone kidnapped your daughter, abused and murdered her. My own response felt much along the lines of just what the author captured in this compelling novel. Along the way, we see things through the eyes of Evelyn Barrett, as she goes from a powerful successful attorney, married to Eddie, a telephone line repair man, and raising their first and only child, Corinne. The emotions she goes through are so real that you often wonder how real this book is. I know that even in my own mind, I was walking through the chapters of her life right along side with her, even though I was watching from a distance. This is every parents nightmare and thus the warning at the beginning of this review.
There are those who wouldn't be able to read this type of book, not for the writing style but simply based on the subject matter. However, Evelyn soon finds herself gifted with a heavenly gift of being able to detect child predators based on their smell. She calls it unholy hunger. They seem to wear their sinful filth like a bad stench and soon finds herself working with the local police to uncover her daughter's murderer based on this gift. The police don't believe she has this ability but soon find her solving more cases than they ever could and bringing the criminals to justice before they have a chance to hurt children like her Corinne.
I received Unholy Hunger by Heather James compliments of Kregel Publications for my honest review and literally could not put this down because I had to see how it turned out. Perhaps it gave me a way to see what the consequences of my actions might be if I too, pursued this type of justice in a safe way. In the end, I think I would have followed things through much the same way as Evelyn even justifying my actions with the fact that nothing remains of you when your child is brutally murdered. I can't wait to see where her next book will be headed, but I know I will be prepared to face the unknown horrors that you often find staring you in the face when the lights go out and the darkness remains. I rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars and loved how it ended.