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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thirteen Souls by Lanion Wills

Thirteen Souls by Lanion Wills
Publisher: Swimming Kangaroo Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full (307 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Review by Camellia

Gene DuBois, cynical and distrusting by nature, is fascinated with Heather Winstrobe from the first moment he sees her. He doesn’t believe in ghosts, spirits or mediums and certainly doesn't believe her warning that he is in danger. What is she after? His money? The treasure that is supposedly buried somewhere on his land? Or are her motives even more sinister? Blinded by his desire for her he stands to lose everything, including his life.

Fraught with extreme emotions, THIRTEEN SOULS reveals some of the best and the worst deeds of human beings. The instant, overpowering sexual attraction Heather Winstrobe and Gene DuBois feel for each other shocks and intrigues while the sadistic, graphic scenes of cruelty and torture of both past and present time horrify.

The happenings that Gene and Heather encounter are strongly influenced by evil deeds and social mores of the past.

Clairsentient, Heather, the daughter of socially elite and old-wealth parents, uses her innate talent to secretly help others. She touches things or gets impressions and becomes a “spontaneous involuntary medium". With this gift (or curse), she helps spirits resolve problems so they can “cross over”. The spirit of Jessie, a slave girl who lived at Summer’s Respite plantation in the early 1800’s speaks through Heather.

Gene DuBois, scarred both physically and emotionally, returns home to a forty acre tract of land left to him by his abusive father. In dealing with the problems of developing the forty acres, he incurs the wrath of his mother and his brother Harlan. His determination to find closure for the misery and suffering of his childhood puts his life in peril. It also brings about the revelation of evil that costs many lives during slave times.

I thought of the “Ghost Whisperer” TV series as the story of the ghosts on the forty acres unfolds. Lanion Wills creates a breath-stopping tale of life at Summer’s Respite during Emile DuBois’ life. The parallels drawn between that time and Gene’s time are intriguing. They create a sense of urgency to continue reading to be sure Gene survives.

One of the themes in THIRTEEN SOULS is that abuse breeds abuse--so often seen in present day accounts of children who have been abused becoming abusers. Also, the Stockholm Syndrome becomes apparent as the novel progresses.

Many of the secondary characters are well developed. They add depth and a multitude of emotions to the story. Others serve their purpose but stay on the periphery as little more than shadows.

The characters and events in THIRTEEN SOULS will linger in this reader’s mind more because of the horrifying story of cruelty than for the present day love story that emerges as the story unfolds. But, seeing how good triumphs over evil is so satisfying.