The Poison of A Smile
Author Steven Jensen
She will take her pleasure in your destruction ….
When Gabriel Holland and David Leigh are lured to the haunted town of Carliton in search of their beloved Helena, they find only mystery and malice. And Christian Salazar, connoisseur of torments, master of Alatiel, the creature that Helena has become, awaits their company ….
Review: The poetic and careful word choice provides this novella with a classic macabre tone. It’s eloquent and romantic with a daunting dream-like quality. I felt as if I fell head over heels into a Dali painting. Even though it is not a lengthy story, I suggest taking your time to read it. After my first read through, I went back and read the beginning again and was delighted to discover important elements that I missed. However, if a reader misses these subtle clues, they will be lost in the text and become easily disembodied from the story. This can leave you with the ‘what the heck is going on?’ feeling. Some may relish in this approach, where other readers might hunger for some footing in order to follow the plot. I had difficulty keeping track of characters simply because the use of both first and then only last names occurs. It is advisable to stay with one or the other or the reader might assume the author is talking/introducing two totally different characters. Also, the use of ‘we’ was confusing the first go around, but my second time through I caught on. Now, I like this element and would debate whether to clarify to gain a better understanding. I’d like to see the story slow down in spots and some meat added to the bones. I think this can be accomplished without losing the beautiful macabre feel or victorian fun house effect. With a little more grounding this story in my humble opinion would be a must read open for a wider audience. With that all said, I settled in with this book on a late October rainy night and was not disappointed. The ending suggests more to come, and I eagerly await other works by this author.
Bitsy’s Rating: 3.5 Stars