book review, horror

The Mourner’s Cradle by Tommy B Smith

A widow’s grief takes her to the edge of madness, and beyond.

After the death of her husband, Damon, Anne Sharpe is determined to prove that his life work had value. Accompanied by the one man still loyal to the deceased, Anne journeys to Peru.

However, she is not alone. Despite destroying Damon’s reputation, Mr Keller wants to get his hands on his work, and he’s prepared to do anything to get it.

I’m so confused by this book. The main story is bookmarked by an old man who lives in the graveyard with the whispers, which I found much more interesting than Anne’s crusade. Also, having read the sequel, Poisonous, first, I know that there is something really interesting coming.

Unfortunately, the majority of the book is taken up with Anne’s ascent of a mountain in Peru to find the titular Mourner’s Cradle. Apparently her husband posited it as an example of the earliest Peruvian settlement, and was laughed out of the community because of it. I’m not sure what community, apart from some nebulous research organization. It all sounds like a maguffin to me; an inciting incident to send the widow on a quixotic quest that sees her climbing a literal and figurative mountain of grief, hatred and revenge.

For most of the book it is, but then it’s not, it’s something much more interesting, and I can’t help but wish that the story had been about that instead, because I find proving a scholar in ancient Peruvian cultures crackpot theory about an early people who left no written language or art a lot less interesting than an ancient evil, perhaps alien in origin, and a man with a painted face who comes out of the dark.

There is nothing wrong with The Mourner’s Cradle. It’s a quick read with some interesting ideas. However, it could have been so much more.

I award The Mourner’s Cradle

The Mourner’s Cradle is available for $3.75 ebook and $12.99 print book on Amazon.

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