Written by Deborah LeBlanc
Published by Leisure Books
So here’s the biggest problem with Morbid Curiosity; I’m just gonna get it out of the way right now. LeBlanc seems to have the feeling that her readers retain their memories for an average of about 10 pages, at which point they need to be reminded of events that happened not very long ago, usually through a different character’s perspective.
To those with attention spans that limited, you might want to not try full-length novels for now. The rest of you will find it repetitive and more than a little annoying.
Another issue stems from believability of the characters. I mean for a horror story to work you have to care about someone involved in the proceedings, don’t you think? LeBlanc almost gets us to feel for one of them, but her character is so thin and undefined that you really can’t go all the way to actually caring.
It’s all too bad cause the book starts off with quite a bang; a young boy is dragged by his father to some voodoo woman’s house, where his father insists something must be done to get his (apparently slutty) girlfriend back. He barely notices the kid is there, such is the level of his pain, and the voodoo priestess throws him in a closet to keep him out of the way.
He manages to see things he’s not supposed to and the priestess curses him to a life of evil, or something like that. He grows up to be a sleazebag working in a carnival. Sounds about right to me.
Twin sisters are dragged by their new best friend, Karla, to said sleazebag who will teach them the deep secrets of Chaos Magic, which apparently involves a lot of yelling and insecurity, and of course he become smitten with one of them while the other sulks and thinks it’s all pointless. Meanwhile snakes show up out of nowhere, an art teacher does enough research to fill in the plot holes in the span of a few pages (whew!) and pretty soon a monster is on the loose.
If that doesn’t make a lot of sense it’s because the tale seems pretty nonsensical, too. LeBlanc comes across as one who did some research on something that sounded spooky and decided to write about it with some teen angst thrown in for good measure. It just doesn’t work on pretty much any level, sadly, as the pieces never fall into place enough for there to be anything to grasp on to. The character we think we’re supposed to be rooting for disappears halfway through the story; her much less likeable sister takes her place for a while, and the main baddy is killed of almost unceremoniously.
And maybe I’m just getting old, but I really don’t care what misadventures teens get into when dabbling in the supposed Dark Arts. But then, Morbid Curiosity was not a book written for die-hard horror fans by any stretch of the imagination. I can see it as being a good bridge book for young adults wondering what his whole horror thing is about for the first time, but there’s too much quality, genuine horror YA out there for that angle to work for very long.
Morbid Curiosity is a mainstream horror through and through; safe, nothing too risky in terms of situations or character actions goes down, and done with a lackluster approach to the genre without any real time given to figure out what can be done to make it actually scary.
2 out of 5
Discuss Morbid Curiosity in our forums!