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Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Unwelcome Child

  Terese Pampellone is one of the few female authors who writes true horror. No romances, no wacky mysteries, no love triangles with supernatural beings, just horror. It's tragic that she has only released one novel. But if The Unwelcome Child is the only thing Terese ever publishes, it's a great book to both begin and end your career on.

  The Unwelcome Child centers around Annie Wojtoko, a jaded New York actress. She goes to visit Jan, her pregnant best friend at a B&B which used to be an orphanage/abortion clinic. Annie tries to help Jan who is slowly becoming convinced that her baby is being possessed by a girl who had died tragically there.

  Terese's writing style is reminiscent to the early writings of John Saul, think Hellfire/Nathaniel era. It's dark, atmospheric and unpredictable. Terese uses flashbacks sparingly and slowly introduces you to the characters in the novel. She avoids the chapter long info dump that a lot of horror authors fall into. Slowly gleaning these details about the characters made them feel more real to me. This is a book for a true horror fan and highly recommended. There are a couple of uncomfortable scenes but the book manages to avoid too much gore or unnecessary violence. Warning the book does deal heavily with the pro life/pro choice debates. If that kind of thing deeply offends you, you should probably steer clear.

  The characters aren't perfect and make no apologies for it. You won't find a single Mary Sue or a traditional bad guy. These are flawed characters who don't always do the right thing and you love them for it. Annie in particular is a great character. Sometimes she's likable, sometimes she isn't. She can loyal one moment and completely selfish the next. She's an enigma which is something that you want in a lead character.

  Terese's novel is so well done that I don't mind the tacked on sequel hook that ends the novel. It stays true to the rest of the novel and comes off more like a logical continuation than a desperate attempt at more money.

  I can only hope that this author keeps writing. It would be a shame to see such talent vanish so quickly.