What I liked:
“No,” the old woman declared, her voice turning imperious. “I forbid you to go.”
“No Italian will set foot on that island.”
“She’s as dead as the others. Put her in with the rest.”
The clock in Rossi’s office chimed the half hour. At two-thirty in the morning, he sat on a crumpled blanket at the edge of his bed, staring at the dissected brain sitting on his desk. With a trembling hand, he raised an almost-empty liquor bottle to his mouth, swilling down the remaining contents in one gulp. Then he tossed the empty bottle against the wall. It shattered, sending shards of glass spraying across the floor.
Another dead end.
Anna LaServa has been handed the career opportunity of a lifetime in the land of her ancestors, Italy. Anna’s excitement slams into her grandmother’s dire warnings, which Anna chalks up to the worrisome personalities of old women. After all, the job entails working with professionals who specifically chose Anna for her expertise and this is the 21st century for heaven’s sakes – what could possibly go wrong?
Anna’s present day story mingles with the back stories in the shadows of both centuries and decades past. What Anna does not realize in her blissful daily routine is that she herself is a part of a long chain of events set into motion long before her existence. As Anna is pulled into the mysteries of the doomed Poveglia – an island no self-respecting bird or even insect visits – she must come to grips with the feeling of doom she has carried her entire life. Can Anna break the chain of terror and end the curse? How long and how far can ill-fated genetics carry a lust for revenge? How many more must suffer the same fate?
In Whispering Bones, author Rita Vetere avoids the confusion that sometimes happens as readers are pulled in and out of storylines. Vetere uses impeccable timing in each of her narratives along with a steady pace that gives all these stories equal respect with pace and placement in the overall narrative. The back stories do not bog readers down with mundane details; they provide strong character insights and perspectives. Each story could be strong enough for its own individual full novel treatment, and this is what keeps the chills moving up and down the spine during the book. In a short volume, tight writing keeps readers on their toes along with clues that help deduce without being blatantly obvious.
Book blurb: When someone dies in outrage, a curse is born.
In 1576 Venice, during the second and worst outbreak of the plague, a dying child is shown no mercy. Her death spawns a curse, one which has endured for more than four centuries.
In 1927, the curse manifested in acts of madness and murder in a newly constructed asylum, events which, almost a century later, have not quite been laid to rest.
Now, in a rendezvous with fate, architect Anna LaServa has arrived in Venice, opening the door to the next fulfillment of the curse. She will uncover the reason behind her ultimate confrontation with the barbaric executioner whose name is… Revenge.
Content warning, some scenes of violence.
Book excerpt: From the open cylinder of the incinerator, a hand shot out. By the light of the trembling flame, she could see the raised purple veins covering it. Ragged black fingernails scraped against the metal as whatever was on the other end tried to claw its way out. Anna screamed and dropped the lighter again. Oh God… Oh God, please.
Panic bit into her as she frantically felt around the floor for the lighter. The scraping of nails across metal sounded behind her again, followed by a slithering, dragging sound. Her frenzied hands couldn’t locate the damned lighter. Whatever was in the room with her would reach her in a minute and—
Her fingers brushed against the lighter and she grabbed it, flicking it on, terrified that the thing had clawed its way out and would be at her side. But the incinerator door hung open, the cylinder empty.
Without wasting a second, Anna whirled, lifted the heavy bar securing the doors and tumbled outside. Shaking all over, her heart pounding painfully, she backed away.
What had just happened in there? Something had tried to crawl out of the incinerator. Something not alive.
Tammy Elizabeth Southin