Author: Karen Wiesner
ISBN: 978-1-922233-03-5 (trade paperback); 978-1-922233-02-8 (electronic)
Publisher: Writers Exchange E-Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Where available: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Writers Exchange E-Publishing
Cost: $14.14 (paperback) and $3.99 (eBook); 130 pages
Rating: 5 Stars
The story opens on Lake Superior in a secluded town called Bloodmoon Cove with volatile weather, suspicious folks, and newly awakened ghosts bent on revenge. Esmeralda “Esme” Dumas comes to Bloodmoon Cove looking for work, but most of all to find a place to hide. Bloodmoon Cove Park Ranger John Kotter senses immediately that she has ghosts of her own. As a child, Esme was kidnapped and locked in a cold, dark basement. Afflicted with schizophrenia, her kidnapper alternately showed affection, then starved and brutalized Esme. Her only friends were rodents and the changeable terror that held her hostage. Only books enabled her to stay sane during those nightmare years. She’s been on the run since her escape, never expecting to find another bound spirit come back to life.
Bound Spirits wooed me with well-drawn characters – not only John Kotter and Esmeralda, but also the supporting cast – John’s mother, Troy Mulvaney and his friends, and the others. Bound Spirits reminded me of Stephen’s King’s Misery. In Misery, Annie Wilkes, a nurse also afflicted with a mental illness, locks injured protag Paul in his room, torturing him with starvation alternating with affection and unbridled fury. Now King’s book is psychological horror, which includes a graphic description of the torture. Wiesner takes a subtle approach, allowing my imagination to supply the details, but she turns up the tension by adding a ghost. Not ghost. Ghosts, for Esme had to go up against the spirits of a man and his dog. These ghosts are seeking revenge on the family of the man who killed them and walled them in a cave. On one level, Esme can relate to these spirits, being a bound sprit herself, and Wiesner sells Esme’s reaction in a way that I can believe.
King’s story packs a heavy wallop with his protag’s ordeal, but Wiesner tweaks up the tension yet again with portraying Esme after the fact. Esme comes to town afraid to trust, ready to run when anyone questions her. She didn’t count on falling for John Kotter, a man who struggles with demons of his own. What’s more, the people of Bloodmoon Cove have their own ideas on how people should live, something that doesn’t sit well with John. The way he reacts to Esme is quite touching, and a sweet romance starts to blossom between them.
The suspense started from page one, with Troy and his friends visiting the cave, and kept me turning the pages. I believe this a great read that everyone would enjoy.