The beauty of the late October night was lost on Sara Carson, who usually appreciated such things, as the war she wished had never begun took her last remaining hope in this lifetime. October 15th, 1864 Sara looked on in horror as her brave lover died at the hands of General Thaddeus Bauman for the crime of espionage against the Union of the United States of America. As she watched Quentin make his last stand she knew when his look of defiance turned to one of great love that they would not be separated long. In fact it took mere moments after the shots rang out through the courtyard for her to make her way to the bell tower where she would be found hours later with a blissful smile on her face from where she hung.
Though initially he had fought Professor Richards on it, Tristan hadn’t been able to resist the opportunity that could possible secure a position of assistant professor at an ivy league college. He doesn’t know why his drive into Bauman Creek is filling him with such a feeling of trepidation, especially after viewing the beauty of the town, but he hopes it fades quickly. After meeting the others working on the project with him and his personal hero, Professor Robert Bauman, he is introduced to a man that is beyond an enigma to him. Jake Bauman is the most gorgeous creature Tristan has ever laid eyes upon and yet his instincts start screaming at him to flee the small town and head back to St. Louis. He just doesn’t know why he is so drawn to Jake and yet utterly terrified by him at the same time.
The Evans House had been left to the State of Illinois by the last descendent of the Evans family, Miss Margaret Susanne Evans, who’s only stipulation was that Robert Bauman was to lead the project and that those involved would share the discovery of a lifetime and be changed forever. For sixty years only the lone repairman was allowed inside the Evans House and it is rumored to contain one of the largest private libraries in the Midwest as well as a large art collection. The group’s job is to catalog the great wealth, establish authenticity, and then submit a extensive financial report to the State. They certainly have their work cut out for them, but Tristan’s worry is not assuaged when Jake warns him of a darkness surrounding him. His dread is farther heightened when they arrive at the house that is really more of a manor or castle of old and Tristan can’t shake the feeling something is waiting for him inside, something bad.
As visions of a passionate couple plague him along with the ever present headache, Tristan tries to shake off the experiences he writes off as nightmares, but after Jake is possessed by an unknown spirit Tristan must confront what he thinks is insane and realize how much he and Jake need each other. With meddling cousins and terror haunting them, both will have to uncover past pain, timeless love, and dark secrets long lost to keep history from repeating itself yet again as a lost lover tries to warn them of the danger to come. The question will be if Jake can protect Tristan from forces seeking to harm him and save the love that they had never expected as the terror stalking them strikes again.
I found the beginning of this a bit hard to follow, the character transitions threw me a time or two, however, about a third of the way through this story really started to come together for me and I was rather glad because it became truly enthralling at that point. The secondary characters are as well done as the main and I enjoyed their distinct personalities displayed through their reactions and dialogue. There is an interesting use of foreshadowing and probable my first real thought when I started reading this story was, ‘Rockwell’s Dream Come True’ my ass, and I have to say that sums up this story quite well. Of course, it was all the more interesting for that aspect. I liked the fact this story had a main character that is a witch and Jake’s summation of Christian versus pagan beliefs made me laugh at the sheer truth of it. Weirdly enough I did figure out who the minion was before the reveal, though I’d be willing to hazard most wouldn’t as the deception is well done and even had me questioning myself at points. Jesse Fox knows how to tug at the heart with the stories of Sara and Quentin and Tristan and Jake while at the same time crafting one heck of a supernatural thriller that has character development and a plot that will keep you guessing.
E-book, digital format
Publisher: Dark Roast Press
To purchase an electronic copy of Shadows Beneath click here.
To visit the author’s website go here.