Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Book Review: Malediction by Lisa Morton

Malediction by Lisa Morton

Paperback, 388 pages

Published October 2013 by Evil Jester Press

I am a huge fan of Lisa Morton's work. Her short stories were for years were consistently among the best in anthologies and often rubbing elbows with stories of authors who were considered the greats of the genre. Long before she because president of the Horror Writers Association she was starting to rack up Stoker award nominations and is known as a Halloween expert. So of course she has written several books I enjoyed.

LM's fiction is as tied to Los Angeles as Stephen King is to Maine. This was true of her excellent first novel The Castle of Los Angeles, but as Spinal Tap would say this one goes to 11. I am not sure how much of the history is real or fictionalized but Morton weaves the text of a book by one of the novels characters called the Secret History of Los Angeles into Malediction.

It is excellently weaved into the text and honestly the majority of it sounds plausible with a supernatural bent to the idea of a curse that hangs like a psychic cloud over the city. It has laid dormant until May and Gwen come close together.

Like the + and - sides of a battery the two young women have discovered that they have psychic powers. May uses hers for bad a stubborn child who was sheltered and she causes the death of those who she sees are in her way. Gwen is a healer.

This is a good read but considering the scope and potential for a epic mythology the story actually felt short to me at almost 400 pages. That is a good thing. I kinda wish the character of Sam who write the Secret history of Los Angeles during his homeless psychotic break has been more connected to the supernatural forces weaved into the history.

In the end end the secret history fades a bit into the back ground as we end up with show down that reminded me of the second half of the stand. I mean we know Gwen and May are pretty much on the planet at this point to confront each other. The showdown was a little weak for all the excellent build up. Point is the build was great.

If you have not read Morton I think I would suggest her haunted theater novel The Castle of Los Angeles or Netherworld #1 first. That being said fans of Los Angeles fiction who can't go wrong it is the elements of LA lore mixed into this story that make it so fun.

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