Author Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick
A seventy-five year old secret waits in a lovely old portrait studio, at the end of a street in New York City’s Lower East Side. It is a secret, that drove to madness, a renowned photographer, ‘Papa’ Menashe Reisman, and left him to waste and die in his own studio, but haunted by every photograph he tries to take. When his great-grand daughter, Shelly, begs to have the old building, for a new renovation, she awakens more than any secret that Papa kept. She also awakens something darker, more evil, just across the street. Across the street, under the stoop, down a foul stair, where Caraliza was kept prisoner for two years; until the horrid events of that summer, in 1919.
Gems: Caraliza is a story possessed by stark hauntings that will grip your nerves from the first page and drag you into a grisly nightmare that will both seduce and frighten the reader. Much like the photo of Caraliza, it is impossible to turn your eyes away from the macabre on the page and within them, a person will see both beauty and horrible abuse. However, the ghastliness is not achieved through simple shock value, but by displaying an imaginary realness and believable richness of history. It is also amplified by the love that creates a harmonious balance and chilling sensuality that is genuinely romantic. The intimacy between characters will bring a tingle to your skin and a sigh to your heart. Caraliza is a great achievement in pairing the paranormal with romance. It’s stunningly grounded and had me holding my breath at parts in the story. The plot is not obviously predictable, although readers might think themselves clever by assuming they’ve figured out what will come. However, the twist isn’t so extreme that it implodes. Clues are dropped along the way like breads crumbs and with each sorrow comes a morsel of joy. It is as if one can not be achieved without the other. I absolutely adored the line, “I’ll not wait to die to haunt him.” This story will haunt me for some time, but much like Shelly, I welcome the sensations and fright. It too made me feel alive and perhaps, a bit spooky for loving it so much. It is a rarity for me to read a book twice, but I will revisit this story again. As far as I’m concerned, Caraliza is an absolute MUST read and one I will return to. So no, I will not share my copy.
Flaws: The book has left me speechless in this department. A terrible shame that I did not write it, but I applaud the author who did.
Bitsy’s Rating: 5 Stars