David's Reviews > Siren Promised

Siren Promised by Jeremy Robert Johnson
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's review
Jan 21, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: horror

Angie is a drug addict. Thanks to her sadistic, drug dealing boyfriend she's spent most of the last decade hooked on various narcotics and hallucinogens. She ran away from the bastard long enough to clean up her act so that she can get home to her daughter, Kaya. Angie dreams about her constantly. Unfortunately, the dreams always end in Kaya's death.

Angie's friend wants her to celebrate by attending a rave. Although afraid that this one last party may tempt her to slip back into drugs, she reluctantly agrees.

Big Mistake.

Angie gets separated from her friend and, while searching for her, runs into her ex. He's not happy with Angie. With no one to help her, he slips Angie some bad acid. After the drug kicks in, leaving her helpless, he attacks her. She manages to injure him in the groin and make her escape. She runs blindly into the forest trying to put as much distance between her and her ex as possible where she stumbles into a dark grotto. The forest comes alive in a rather sinister fashion but Angie can't figure out if it's the acid or reality.

All that in chapter 1.

Meanwhile, Curtis Loew has moved in across the street from Angie's mother, Colleen, and Kaya. He grew up in a foster home, desperate to be part of a family. That burning need has gotten out of hand more that once, sending him packing under cover of darkness. But this time, he feels like he's finally found a family that he can be a part of. He searches genealogical websites to track down enough information about them to become "Uncle" Curtis.

The book isn't for the squeamish. The characters suffer, though it isn't gratuitous. The authors don't take any delight in their characters' pain, having experienced some of it themselves. The characters are people who have very screwed up lives on account of very poor choices. Redemption is a long, hard road where every step along the way must be earned. Sugar coating it would be an insult to the reader.

The authors manage to perfectly mesh their styles, seemingly with little effort. Even if the book wasn't filled with Mr. Clark's haunting illustrations (which will make you long for the full color version), you wouldn't have any difficulty envisioning the world around the characters. You'll sweat as the mist from the dank forest coats Angie's skin. Your nose will scrunch up in disgust as Curtis offers you an olfactory tour of Colleen's house. And you'll swear your ears heard someone stepping on broken glass, trying to creep up behind Angie in The Courtyard.

Find out what "Siren Promised" and then be thankful that you haven't heard its call.
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