Jessica’s Trap is everything a good yarn should be.
The story takes place in the UK in 1647, and Jessica Chadwick is a young witch who lives in a hovel at the edge of the woods where she grows herbs that she uses to heal ailing villagers. Her mother was burned at the stake. Jessica didn’t witness her death, but overheard her father and a family friend discussing a betrayal by someone named Demdike.
War and plague blight the land, and Jessica’s father is drafted into the army. She is alone in the world now but for the family friend, Simon Bulcock, who is a kind, slightly older than middle-aged man who looks out for her and poaches rabbits from the King’s land. As the story begins, Simon is on his way to share a little of his bounty with Jessica at the same time that she is conjuring her mother’s ghostly spirit.
Jessica’s mother advises her to forget about Demdike; she has much bigger problems. There is a Witchfinder, one of the Golab. It possesses men’s bodies and feeds on the terror of women. Jessica should conjure a demon named Foras and ask for help, but to make sure she understands his price before agreeing. Jessica’s powers are strong, but she is inexperienced, and Foras is the President of Hell.
Together, with a whole host of demons who soon overrun her house, Foras sets a trap to capture the Golab, and Jessica becomes the bait.
This story has all the tension and conflict a good story should have—the likable main character has a specific goal and endless obstacles thrown in her path. Will she make it, or won’t she?
Who knew there are worse things out there than demons?
Unfortunately for you, this book is an advance copy from the author. It has been accepted for publication, but unless the publishing business in Great Britain moves faster than the glacial pace it moves in the U.S., it will probably be April before you’ll see it on bookstore shelves, and most likely with a different cover because that's what happens in the publishing biz. I’ll remind you of it again then. I hope you'll have it in time for next Halloween!
The story doesn’t have the gut-wrenching, heartbreaking power of say…Sophie’s Choice or Lonesome Dove, but for horror,
I like it as much as any Stephen King book I’ve ever read.
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