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Morbid Curiosity / Deborah LeBlanc

thMorbidCuriosity.jpgLeisure / July 2007
Reviewed by: Derek Clendening

Dark magic, with all its promises and consequences, is still a useful device in horror literature. Deborah LeBlanc’s Morbid Curiosity treats this plot like few others in horror and saves a well-worn concept from cliché by creating memorable characters and plot twists aplenty. Leblanc isn’t afraid to go for the throat in this tale of two sisters.

LeBlanc sets her tale in the small town South, a locale which offers a genuine sense of place and mood. Haley’s life is changed by a promise from the most popular girl in school, but this girl isn’t popular because of her beauty or charm. She’s popular because of a dark magic ritual, and she’s willing it to teach Haley. It seems too good to be true. If Haley can convince her twin sister to partake in the dark rituals, the power will double. What Haley doesn’t consider are the consequences that come with such a godsend – that these powers are deadly if they’re left unfed.

LeBlanc proves her resourcefulness by adding satisfying twists to this recycled plot. The promise/consequence concept as fright-bait is commonplace, but needing to literally feed these powers through the flesh is new. Haley must feed these powers through a tattoo called her ‘sigil’, which expands on the dark magic sub-genre and spins the novel into its own category. LeBlanc is also unafraid to tackle sensitive subjects, such as adolescent death. The closest genre comparison that comes to mind is Stephen King’s Carrie.

The mechanics of LeBlanc’s dialogue are most impressive, and her ability to step up from conventional cardboard conversation is what offers the novel such a convincing and authentic sense of place. The prose itself isn’t quite as gripping as the dialogue. While her writing is clean and concise, it lacks the punch and original voice of many of her contemporaries. It’s a modest shortcoming given her ability to write a novel that is not easily categorized. The same can be said about her previous novels such as A House Divided and Grave Intent. Morbid Curiosity is a novel with enough nuances to stand alone.

Purchase Deborah LeBlanc’s Morbid Curiosity.

Posted on Saturday, November 17, 2007 at 07:23AM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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