This is just good storytelling. The beginnings have all the little details that rush back to you later when they become important. The plot is tight and the characters are lively. More importantly, they are consistent throughout the book. The interplay between Dylan and Stevie is well done and honest in its portrayal. All of this is spellbinding, pun intended. However, Charlie steals the show. This account of witchcraft is told with the backdrop of an autistic child and its beautifully done. Heartfelt and warm with a clear message of distress for Stevie who only wants to protect him and above all else, know he’s happy. That message came through loud and clear. I’m eagerly awaiting book two of this series.
“Still can’t sit by me?”
I shrugged again. “You could come over here and sit by me.”
She laughed. It was curiously nice to hear and it helped relax me, probably more than it should have. The car moved and we were on our way.
I said, “What did you want to talk about?”
“Nothing.” She replied. “I just didn’t want them back here because I don’t want to share with them.”
She touched a button on the console near her and the door opened to the refrigerator. Another bag of blood rested inside.
I tried to resist the call, but it seemed my soul was screaming for feeding. My breath came in sharp shallow raspy pants as soon as my eyes saw the bag. Delilah was removing her dress.
“Go ahead Ryan. You have to feed anyway, and eventually you will learn to like it. When you’re done, take me too. You will learn to like that even more.”
My hand was already reaching for the bag while the rational side of my brain was trying desperately to find a way to fight the urge. That side of my brain lost the struggle terribly. I snatched the bag and fed.
Fire roared through me again. My heart pounded in my chest and I felt my power double, then double again. It was truly frightening to what was left of my rational self. I threw the bag aside and attacked Delilah’s body while she moaned and giggled. I hated her.
Those of us that wrestle with inner demons on a regular basis, know a simple truth. When you find that method or tool that helps you fight those demons, you unleash your capabilities to put out your most amazing material. Jason Beem’s new novel, Southbound is flat, scary good. It is a testament to the demons he fights on a daily basis.
Ryan, the main character, is believable in every aspect. His love of horses and racing is only overshadowed by what those loves wakes in him. His flaws, and there are many, are starkly presented in all their ugliness, but with great understanding gifted to the reader about what he’s thinking and how he justifies his actions to himself. This character is presented cleanly and powerfully, with no safety net.
Gambling addiction casts a despairing shadow over Ryan and this is painted for the reader with absolutely no decoration. The darkness is always there, always waiting, and the reader will know that better than Ryan does. You know what’s going to happen as its inevitable, but you can’t help but root for Ryan on his highway to personal destruction.
Putting your money down on this book is no gamble at all. I make odds at least 100-1 that you’ll love it. Jason Beem has demons like we all do, and he’s found writing an effective tool to carry on the fight. He’s also created a powerful commentary on the dangers of gambling. I look forward to his next novel.