House of Reckoning
Ballantine, Oct 13 2009, $26.00
In Vermont, six months have passed since her mama died from cancer, but fourteen year old Sarah Crane has not had any time to grieve. She is too busy working on the farm while also caring for her grief stricken father Big Ed who uses alcohol to drown his sorrow. Every night he goes to bed drunk and she goes to bed praying to mama to help her.
After hours of drinking at the Fireside Tavern, Ed gets into a brawl with a man who called his late wife a whore. Ed leaves him dead before going home in his truck only to run over Sarah hurting her leg. While he goes to jail, social worker Kate Williams places Sarah in foster care with Mitch and Angie Garvey and their two teenage children Tiffany and Zach. She has almost no one as her new “family” is ice cold and treats her like a slave; while at school Sarah has become a pariah. That is except former mental patient Nick Dunnigan who hears voices and sees visions when he does not use his meds; and her art teacher Bettina Phillips, known in some circles as the witch of Shutters Mansion. The latter mentors Sarah to paint what she feels;: images of the mansion’s dark past that matches Nick’s visions and releases a power that may prove evil and vengeful.
Though nothing new except modern communication technology has been added to the story line of an outcast teen having paranormal power to enact revenge against those who hurt her yet John Saul provides an entertaining horror tale. The story line is fast-paced from the moment that Ed runs over his daughter and never slows down until the final encounter. Fans will enjoy King’s Carrie meets Barrymore’s Ever After Cinderella as Mr. Saul writes a suspenseful horror thriller with several past, present, and hints at future twists.