By Jackson Baer
Peyton Hamilton is haunted. Not only is she faced with the slaughter of her parents and siblings, she is under vicious mental and physical attacks from an unknown ‘force’, she can only term a shadow. After her family’s death, she moves to Connecticut to live with her aunt, start a new job, get ready for college, and developing relationships. However, she cannot escape the lingering shadow and when it wants to exact its will and power, will Peyton be able to cope?
I’m not sure what to make of this plot. The way it was presented was somewhat strange, confusing, and I wasn’t sure where it was going to go. I guess I’ll leave it at that. I’m wasn’t sure and after completing it, I am still not sure. Let me delve into some of the aspects in the following sections.
Peyton Hamilton: 18, family dead, petite frame, 5’6”, light brown hair, green eyes, 120 lbs., drives a Jeep
Charity: 34, Peyton’s paternal aunt, 5/5”, 130 lbs, blonde, blue eyes, author, newspaper editor, drives a ‘57 Chevy
Clare: restaurant owner, 35
Daniel Bonadio: 21, light brown eyes
Luke Parsons: 36, owns a white Chevy Silverado and a black Porsche, former baseball player
Each of the characters are distinctive, have a personality all their own. Some interesting background info on most of them
Let’s take the areas of concern starting with Charity. For the most part, she’s fun loving, easy going. However, when Peyton’s behavior shows some drastic moments of oddity or outright changes, Charity doesn’t seem all that concerned. At one point, Peyton goes off on a profanity rant and Charity doesn’t act (or isn’t shown to act) all that shocked.
Peyton – the way the story is laid out and how and when information is given on the characters made me wonder about the behavior. Peyton, especially. Without playing too much spoiler, The time at the beginning is around August, middle/end thereabouts. At least I think so. The previous New Year’s Eve, Peyton was raped and her family was uncaring and mentally abusive afterward. That part was fine as it was presented. However, it was given after several scenes (again in August) where Peyton had met and was attracted to two men. And started dating them. I would think after that traumatic experience, even after 8-9 months, she would be wary of anybody paying attention to her and hitting on her. Especially with her being haunted by the shadow force who interrupts the dates. Later, even though at one point she says she’s through with both, thinking they’re just after sex, she continues dating them...and having sex with them. Doesn’t make sense. Maybe it was her personality change but it was very confusing.
Fine except when Peyton gets rolling on the profanity, it’s a bit overdone.
Titled chapters. Profanity. One or two misspelled words.
Minor stuff includes a bit of overwriting: She stood to her feet. Where else is she to stand to? She stood is sufficient.
The author uses ‘the girls’ a few too many times when speaking about Charity and Petyon and sometimes Clare. Charity is not a girl and so the phrase didn’t fit and made Charity seem younger than what she was.
The chapter discussing the outcome of the main suspect felt like filler and could have been summed up quicker.
POV is generally omnipresent but oft times it goes into Peyton’s head and I wish it could have stayed there. I’m not a big fan of omnipresent.
Time problem: on a date w/Luke, he says that next week is Thanksgiving. A subsequent chapter says it’s the first of November and it’s not a flashback.
My biggest issue was with this supernatural shadow force who pops up at various times, speaks to various characters, is seen by various characters and can physically affect them. I thought it was something mentally manifested by Peyton to torment her and her actions and her thoughts. However, Charity also is plagued by the shadow.
I was confused by Peyton’s attitude. She is terrified by the shadow, but this terror is combined, depending on the scene, with longing for the shadow and anger at the shadow. I didn’t understand why she hated it in one scene and couldn’t wait for it to show again in another. It would have been chalked up to insanity except that other characters saw/heard it, too.
The climax was a hodge-podge of attacks and blood and deaths and supposed deaths.
No spoilers, but I figured out the murderer of Peyton’s family long before it was revealed. That I did understand.
I guess it was interesting to see the deterioration of Peyton throughout, but, as I’ve said, it was a bit confusing at various times.