December 20, 2010
Review: Mojo by Kris Sedersten
The power of an elusive mojo amulet becomes central to fighting Scottie’s demons as the journey through the haunted mansion, filled with twists and turns, takes on a life of its own against time.
Mojo is a fast paced paranormal thriller. Edgy and fun, this book will show the reader how having faith in a power greater than ourselves will lift us through even the most unforeseeable obstacles in life.
Spooky, suspenseful and highly entertaining, Mojo by Kris Sedersten was a fast paced ghost story that kept me reading late into the night and left me wanting more. Tautly written and highly developed this novel had me enthralled from the first word to the last.
The world Sedersten created is perfectly suited to Louisiana, the swampy settings paired with out of the way locales allowed for a down home yet creepy feeling to saturate the story. Where better then to imagine voodoo, ghosts and demonic rites coming together? The settings are perfectly described setting the ghostly ambiance and the clever writing makes even the most mundane of objects suspect. From the Christine like haunting of a vehicle to a dilapidated southern plantation there is never a lack of the supernatural to keep one on their toes!
The characters are all interesting, highly developed and each add to the story with their 'special' skills. Yet, it is the friendship that binds them that is most intriguing, each putting their lives on the line for a friend in need. Scottie's earnest emotions add a lot to tale. From his obvious desperation at the unbelievable situation he finds himself in to the relief that his friends not only help him without question but actually believe him is touching. His unknown heritage to the evil Benet family is highly developed and the way that its introduced into the plot makes it extremely relevant to the story and to the characters involved. Instead of simply dumping the information as fact, Sedersten incorporates it adding to the suspense and mystery of the novel progressing the atmosphere and characterization. However, the character that most stole my heart was Mojo. While we don't see this gentle monster for more then a few minutes, his kindness and utter innocence despite his parentage and plight tug at the reader's heart strings. I loved the emotional appeal that was used to connect this obviously awkward character to the readers and I think it helped to contrast against the darker themes of the novel. But, it's not only the corporeal characters that were well captured. The haunting, disfigured apparition that stalks Scottie adds mystery to the tale as we come to get to know who the shadowed figure is and his ties to the Benet family. Likewise, the patriarch Jean Benet is well captured despite not being more then a shadow for much of the story. His dark apparition is at once menacing and filled with hate and anger the permeates the tone of the novel and adds that dash of evil malevolence that stains his soul.
The story is fast paced and well written. I loved the subtle details that the author was able to capture and the style of the writing. While filled with information, nothing ever seems frivolous. Instead it all is relevant and needed, the tidbits dropping at intervals to keep the pace of the plot and the suspense coming. There is a nice descriptive quality to the writing that points to wonderful story telling paired with nice development of the plot and the history that is based upon. While most ghost hunting tales have some lag, this novel never really experiences that. Instead the reader is catapulted from one mystery and horror to the next. There is also a nice sense of closure to the novel as well, all the loose ends referenced and brought back to light, most notably Scottie's haunted truck. Most authors would have let the matter drop and revisited it later in another novel, but Sedersten reminds the reader that we have received little information about this and it only adds to the promise of more to come. Not to mention the wonderful cliff hanger that is only to be expected when such evil takes form in the mortal realm.
In the end, my only complaints about the novel was the dialogue. It seemed at odds with the youthful twenty somethings often coming off as a little stiff and formal. While this isn't a large issue, it still had me stopping at varying points throughout trying to connect the speech to the characters that I had envisioned. It tends to throw off the flow, but not devastatingly so. Also, there is a little repetition between thoughts and speech that got a little tiresome, but again, this is a small issue that didn't happen too often and didn't detract from the over all story telling.
Overall, this was definitely a unique and enjoyable read! I can really envision this as one of those wonderful original telefilms on the SyFy channel, which made this all the more wonderful for me to read (I love those movies!). Nicely written with a wonderfully quick suspenseful plot, I recommend this to anyone who loves a good ghost story. Definitely a new author I will be keeping an eye on.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Scars