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Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Ninth Curse by K. J. Gillenwater

The Ninth Curse by K. J. Gillenwater
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Genre: Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (181 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Water Lily

His blood for a cure. It’s a cruel and deadly bargain…

Nine curses. Nine weeks to live. Joel Hatcher has inherited more than a family legacy. It’s a time bomb that’s ticking down to the inevitable: his own death. But the curse won’t die with him. Unless he can find a way to break the cycle, his younger brother becomes the next victim.

In the throes of the third curse, the Painful Pox, Joel makes a last-ditch decision to seek the help of a young spiritualist.

One look into Joel’s suffering eyes, and “Madame Eugenie” finds herself torn between doing the right thing and fulfilling her most secret wish—bring her husband Adam back from the dead. Joel’s cursed blood is the missing ingredient in her resurrection rituals, and Adam’s spirit whispers seductively that there’s only one way to get it: steal it.

As Gen and Joel unearth his family’s past to track down a cure, they come closer to each other and to a horrible truth. To live, Joel must lose everything. Up to and including the woman he has grown to love.
Curses don’t care if you don’t believe in them.

When Joel Hatcher receives a box of notebooks from an unknown relative about a family curse he’s next in line for, he throws the box away. Who wouldn’t? Joel is not prepared for nine weeks with a different torment every week until he dies. He’s a practical software specialist with a college-age brother he has raised from childhood—a brother who is now next in line for the curse.

Madame Eugenie, spiritualist, has problems of her own. She’s trying to raise her beloved husband, Adam, from the dead. Even with the ghostly Adam’s intervention and his resurrection spell, it’s easy to see the whole thing would be easier if she hadn’t cremated him.

I found the premise of this story delightful. Joel needs to end the curse, not so much for himself but for his brother. Gen needs to finish resurrecting her husband. I mean, what’s worse than having your loved one fade in and out? Adam tells Gen that blood from a cursed man is the key. Two people and a ghost with seemingly parallel goals working to help each other. Gen thinks it’s a win/win situation. But there’s something Adam isn’t telling her.

I particularly enjoyed how Gen is torn between a dead man and a condemned man and somehow the conflict and the outcome seem completely reasonable. Maybe she can raise Adam from the dead. Maybe she can save Joel.

The more Gen and Adam intervene, the faster Joel’s curse progresses. Before long, nine weeks turns out to be nine days. The plot progresses at breakneck speed. Gillenwater gives and then removes hope amping up the tension as the plot hurtles to the seemingly tragic conclusion. But this is a romance. There is a happily ever after. But whose? Will Gen and a resurrected Adam have the happily ever after? Or will Gen and Joel? Read K. J. Gellenwater’s The Ninth Curse to find out.

If you like fast paced paranormal romances heavy on the magic, you’ll enjoy Gellenwater’s The Ninth Curse.