Title: Cursed Be The Wicked
Author: J.R. Richardson
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Suspense
(M/F, Adult language/situations)
Page Count: 312
Cooper Shaw lives his life under a pen name and enjoys the anonymity it provides during his journeys across the globe as a seasoned writer for a travel magazine. When his job lands him in his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, to cover the famous Festival of the Dead, he soon realizes that he can’t stay invisible forever as he faces ghosts from a past he’s been trying to forget ever since he left.
The city represents nothing but bad memories for Coop until he meets Finnley Pierce, a quirky young woman with an old soul and curious insights. While she acts as his tour guide through a town he thought he knew, Finn helps him unearth the truth of his childhood and might even begin to open up his heart.
By unraveling the mystery of his father’s murder, Coop may finally accept who he is, where he came from, and perhaps even realize what he wants for his future.
Review of book:
I was looking for a little change of pace from the types of books I'd been reading lately, and came across Cursed Be The Wicked. It was exactly what the doctor ordered. J.R. Richardson had me instantly hooked with a plot rife with angst and filled with twists and turns galore. I'm not easily fooled, but I found myself taken completely by surprise at more than one point, and I loved it.
I'm not sure if my enjoyment of the story was enhanced because it was set in, and around where I grew up, but it sure didn't hurt that Ms. Richardson captured the rich history and colorful feel of Salem so spot on. She did her research well, and it showed throughout the book. There was just enough by way of geographic and cultural details contained in the plot, that it quickly drew me in to Finn and Cooper’s world.
Finnley– Finn for short- was such a crazy, fun character. She definitely marched to the beat of her own drum, and while it could have easily been overdone, the author clearly went to great lengths to ensure that didn't happen. I think that’s what made it possible for Finn’s warmth and humor to really shine through. Yes, she was psychic, but I never felt that Coop, or myself for that matter, were being beaten over the head with it.She wasn't constantly trying to show anyone up with her “inside knowledge”. In fact, Finn usually stood back, and let Coop come to his own conclusions with very minimal prompting on her part.
Coop was a complete mess. He'd had a difficult childhood, with his mother being labeled“Crazy Maggie Shaw”you knew he had to have been teased and ostracized, making his absolute apoplectic aversion to going back to Salem, MA understandable. Who the heck would want to literally go back to the scene of the crime? Not me, that's for sure. Still, he took the assignment, and under an assumed name, went back to his hometown at the height of the media hoopla surrounding his mother’s recent death. It was amazing to watch him come out of his shell. He not only came to terms with who he was, he seemed to gain a measure of pride at being Cooper Shaw. Where his young child’s mind couldn't process what was going on around him at the time, following him as he directed those same events with an older, more mature perception, was so intriguing.
What I especially enjoyed though, was the slow burn between Coop and Finn. You could see the two of them forming a connection, blissfully unaware as it flourished. I got a kick out of it being such a big secret that only the two of them weren't in on. The tension wasn't so much sexual, as it was passionate and compassionate. They truly liked one another long before any stronger emotion emerged, and it was refreshing. Where he was in denial, she was gently patient. Where she was self-sufficient, he was there as her protector should she need it.
It was impossible for me to choose one thing about this book that made it a win for me. There was so much in this story that I enjoyed, I couldn't do it (and believe me, I tried). I'll be eagerly following this author to see what exciting places she takes her readers in the future.
Five Shooting Stars