“Thunder claps from above with a violence that could rupture the very heavens. It is like the booming strokes of an immense teponaxtle drum resounding in an endless funerary procession. People say the ancient gods are trampling and crashing against the new celestial firmament above, trying to smash their way back into the world.”

By Leopoldo Gout
Source: Advance review copy
Published: March 2023
Rating: ★★★★

Carmen is tasked with a renovation of a church in Mexico and decides this will be the perfect opportunity to take her daughters so they can experience the culture and learn about their roots. For Carmen this is a great career opportunity even if it means she’s confronting attitudes of machismo and insubordination on the job.

Her two daughters are polar opposites. Izel is only concerned about having internet access to stay in touch with her friends back home and lamenting the fact that she’s missing out on summer theater camp. Luna on the other hand is thriving. She’s eating new foods, practicing her Spanish and learning about the Aztecs and the history of Mexico.

As time passes, Carmen forms allies with Father Verón and Quauhtli who are also on hand overseeing the renovation project. She’s grateful for their help because as time passes, there are setbacks due to sabotaging by employees and government bureaucracy. So when Yoltzi, a friend of Quauhtli, appears to her with a warning and tells her that Luna is in danger, Carmen thinks that it could be cartel doings or perhaps intimidation by the government. Little does she expect that Yoltzi is there to warn her about supernatural forces.

Then disaster at the worksite strikes and Carmen’s office recalls her back to New York. As the family returns to the States little ] do they know that they aren’t alone when they return. Evil is threatening to overtake Luna.

There are some horrifying and descriptive scenes but I think this novel rises above just gore and thrills by bringing a story filled with history and commentary on colonialism. I also found the way the author wove in current societal concerns such as the continued disappearance of women to really help ground the story in time and place. If horror isn’t quite your thing I would still highly recommend this one. I throughly enjoyed it.

One Response
  1. April 27, 2023