The Horror Zine Review
by Lorne Patterson
|Paperback: 102 pages
Publisher: Dark Hall Press (April 25, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.2 inches
by Lorne Patterson
Review by Jorge Valdes Jr.
Sometimes it seems that today's horror writers have reached the zenith in their genre, and there is nothing more to be said. However, the author of Witch has created a unique storyline.
This unique storyline involves the life of detective Jamie McFadden, a man with a dark past who is mildly broken and reclusive. Despite being disliked by the Force, he is given a last case—one more chance to prove himself. He has to uncover an unsolved death, one of a pedophile.
Many writers today have diluted their stories with predictable situations and resolutions. Despite the sparse storytelling abilities of many, Patterson's work stands apart. He is able to deliver a psychological read that has easy-to-follow dialogue. He is able to captivate us through a character who develops with time, and this offers a realistic protagonist, other than just skin-deep superficial vampire romances, overrated zombies, and passionate werewolves.
The story unfolds as the Detective arrives at Haven, a home for abused women. McFadden is sent to the rehabilitative home to interview a woman that was the only surviving victim of the pedophile.
In the book, Margaret, an innocent woman is accused of being a witch who gives into the accusations (hoping for a swifter punishment) due to torture. Even though the book infers a specific label mainly used on women, it does reference a time in man's history where innocent women were labeled and punished.
The story combines a series of dream-like accounts that scar even the most calloused of detectives. There are instances of McFadden’s past infused in the story of post traumatic stress syndrome from his military service that illuminate the character's believability.
In his journey to uncover the mysteries behind related deaths, he encounters women who aid him in his quest for justice and in the quiet of the night, his lusting thoughts intertwine with fear about who these women really are.
Witch provides a new challenge to the reader and the solitary hero. Although Patterson's strong characters are unmistakable, the overlapping story-lines can get a bit confusing, slowing the reader down.
The only constructive criticism I would recommend is that the book be retitled. The premise of the book really isn't about the “witch.” It is about a man's journey to uncovering and solving the death case at hand and he encounters some sultry women along the way. The women's characters are more vague and underdeveloped so that you get the feeling they are not a main part of the story but the supporting roles.
Despite the many characters and the different centuries, this book provides the reader with a sultry, tasty treat that will take you away into an adventure. The ending is somewhat confusing, but it may satisfy those who like open endings. The short-lived action scenes say more than enough for this less-than-a-hundred-paged novella.
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About the author
Lorne Patterson is a psychiatric nurse who has worked in a number of countries, including Britain, the United States and Russia. Witch is his first full-length book.
About the reviewer
Jorge Valdes Jr.
Jorge Baldomero Valdes Jr. was born in Lufkin, Texas, on August 28, 1984. His interests have always been an observer of the arts; he likes to look at things and to ponder them for a while.
Jorge decided to write in 2007, and his direct influences have been his professors, including Joe R. Lansdale who teaches Creative Writing at Stephen F. Austin State University. Jorge graduated in 2009 with his major in Spanish and double minors, Ceramic Arts and of course, Creative Writing.
Today Jorge is a graduate student, majoring in English. If he happens to feel the need to paint, draw or write about how he feels, he does! To keep up with himself, he drinks lots of coffee.