Monday, January 12, 2015

The Vines by Christopher Rice

Release Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: 47 North
Author Website:  

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Having wealth, power and privilege didn't guarantee a happy life as Caitlin Chaisson found out when she caught her husband cheating. Rage and desparation drove her to the edge, but something deep within her family's homestead pulled her back. Buried underground were the ghosts of ancient wrongs never made right. They feed on the Caitlin's rage and doling out punishment as they see fit.

Blake Henderson was Caitlin's best friend since they were small children, but he didn't speak to her for over six months when he first tried to tell her about her husband's cheating. With his own share of tragic memories, he returned to her side when there's a terrible accident at her home. Not knowing the source of the accident or the horrible things that had been released, he walked headlong into something out of a nightmare. Can he conquer his own rage and hurt before it consumed him?

Okay, I admit it. I love creepy books. I saw this novel offered at NetGalley, read the description, and requested to read it because of the creepiness that it promised. Much of the novel takes place on an old plantation near New Orleans where the ancestors of Caitlin Chaisson grew sugar cane and used slave labor. As the story continued, the entire history behind the house, the yard and betrayal was revealed in some pretty head-scratching, gruesome ways. Long buried secrets, no matter how deeply laid to rest, always find a way to return to the surface at some point.

The cast of characters within the novel were a diverse lot. Men and women from both ends of the economic and social spectrum came together in a stereo-typical way for a Southern plantation. In a way the plantation itself and the roles each of the characters take were also main characters at times. Though the events of the novel take place in rapid succession from the very beginning, the author was able to present characters that were unique and very much flawed. Not one was a shining example of true good. Each of them carried the weight of their own darkness, deeply buried secrets and decisions they wished to undo. Yet, I found myself rooting for a few of them to outwit the murderous spirit that threatened to destroy their lives.

From the outset much of the pace was quick - almost non-stop. Once the magic was set into motion, there was no going back. As the vines fed on the blood and rage offered, more and more people became offerings for the sinister source of their power. Soon the forces from the past and the present battled for the future of the plantation and all those who call it home. There were plenty of scenes where the action or revelations propelled the story forward at a steady pace, but I did feel like the story stalled in a couple of places. I'm not sure if it was the repetition of certain information (no spoilers!) or just a lull in the action. Either way, the story quickly recovered each time and moved headlong into the ultimate showdown.

Overall, I enjoyed the book as much as I anticipated. Spooky yet elegant settings combined with emotional whirlwinds that humans bring with them provided a lot for the imagination to digest. Even with its dark, murderous history, there's something rich and decadent about the setting of New Orleans and its oldest buildings. This book brought the right mix of horror, history and drama for me. If you're looking for a glimpse into the dark realm of possibility or a side trip into the supernatural, then this book is definitely one that should be on your TBR list.

The Vines by Christopher Rice is currently available at many online retailers and local bookstores. It can be purchased in paperback, audio-book or digital formats. The link below will take you to the book's Amazon page.
The Vines by Christopher Rice 

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