The first few pages from Allan Laverone’s new novel COVENANT (DarkFuse) are certainly a grabber. The whole scenario about an escapee from a chamber of torture who desperately wants to make it out alive—in total darkness, I might add—before the bad guy catches up with her makes for an edge-of-your-seat moment. It definitely sets the tone for what’s to come. I wish I could say that what follows, of a young couple purchasing their dream house that eventually has a bad rep, is as high-speed but that would be an unfair statement. Although the author tries really hard to keep it all flowing pretty nicely.
I think the main problem with COVENANT is that the author seems unable to settle on a theme. Is it a haunted house tale? Is it a criminal investigation story? Is it a serial killer piece? The plot goes in every direction while never reaching its intend purpose of scaring the bejesus out of us or at least keeping us glued to the pages. By contrast, Lavernone’s narrative is quite solid and the pace well-handled enough; and those gruesome moments, cringe-worthy of course but also restraint in spots when the author prefers to leave them to one’s imagination. His characterization may be a tad limited for my taste but the central heroine is a lovable one, the kind you enjoy rooting for.
What it all comes down is this: CONVENANT is far from being a bad book. It may have failed to wow me as a horror novel but it definitely has its moments. Just make sure to leave your preconceive notions at the door if you do end up picking it up.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the chance to read this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Until next post—Martin