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Midnight Revelations / Karen M. Bence

SterlingHouse Publishers / October 2008
Reviewed by: Joan Turner

The prologue of Midnight Revelations sets the stage for this Southern Gothic mystery, Volume 1 in Sterlinghouse’s Dark Whispers Series, but the past family drama sweeps readers into a story involving too many familiar tropes of the genre. Fortunately for readers, Bence injects enough originality into the tale to keep it interesting.

When David and Sara Miller and their young son, Jack, move into an aging farmhouse in northern Virginia, Sara feels like she has come home. The horse farm offers a hundred acres of land for their six horses and dogs and seems the perfect place where she and David can rebuild their troubled marriage.

While shopping in a local antique store, Sara buys a grotesque old mirror, and learns from the proprietor that it came from her new home. He also confides that dark rumors circulate about the place, but dismisses the stories as gossip.

Right on cue, mysterious events begin taking place as soon as she arrives home with the mirror. A woman’s distorted image appears and disappears in the old glass, nightmares trouble Sara and her adoptive mother, and Sara witnesses a ghostly apparition just as Jack suffers a near fatal accident.

Sara, convinced the house is possessed, turns to the local Catholic Church for help, and with each new twist and turn, the story becomes more bizarre.

The author’s strengths lie in characterization and pacing. While at times the dialogue seems stilted and burdened with unnecessary tags (“Leila said smartly,” “he insisted,” “Leila said with excitement”) and the ending seems somewhat contrived, suspense keeps the reader turning pages.

Midnight Revelations blends reality and the paranormal in a mystery spiced with supernatural elements and suspense. A good quick read worthy enough of a reader’s time.

Purchase Midnight Revelations by Karen M. Bence.  

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