By Jae El Foster
Bob and Karen are an estranged couple searching for any path towards reconciliation. One final gesture towards a new beginning is a move across the sea to a farm in the UK. The fresh start and new locale could prove to have catastrophic results. A decrepit constitution with an ominous past may very well beckon the darkness within as She Rises at Night.
Jae El Foster’s novel of macabre interpersonal mayhem proportion marks the inaugural reading odyssey undertaken by yours truly. I have to be completely direct in stating I was not entirely sure what to expect. As the age-old adage goes, one cannot judge a book strictly upon its cover. The artwork that brandishes She Rises at Night tends to allude to a steamy harlequin romance awaits. Perhaps a new slant on timeless vampire romance. Incidentally, this tactical illustration may not be entirely inaccurate given the author’s gravitation towards past genre endeavors. Furthermore, steam most certainly sells, yet I could not deny the cover’s relevance here, simply as a personal preference.
Upon delving in the third person point of view, the telling of Bob and Karen’s plight, the author manages to capture the estrangement between the two with expert execution. One has to ponder if perhaps more effective emotion may have been depicted through a first-person persona back and forth, yet it truly does not seem to be an issue here. Foster manages to craft tension in rising fashion, devoid of any distraction or overindulgent sentiment. As a result, the tale becomes infectious, prompting the reading audience to rip through the pages ravenously.
A setting of the United Kingdom provides segue into much enchantment and intrigue. Undeniably some most mystical elements lie around the folklore of an ancient land. A perfect backdrop for countless episodes of creepy grandiose to unfold, the author has chosen locale most effectively.
An ethereal, enigmatic usage of the occult certainly raised the ante of intrigue. It is evident the author’s commitment to authenticity. As first carnal rule of writing goes write about what you know, Foster’s exploration and research into the dark arts is mesmerizing. The sense of plausibility is heightened and what if factor is accentuated for the reader. On a subconscious level we are invested even further into the fray.
The quirky, feisty dialogue penned between Karen and Bob then a little later between Bob’s mother and McDougal is endearing. A sense of realistic rapport is enhanced. Depending upon your point of view we either learn to love or love to hate the characters. Realistic exchanges between characters are vital to elevating any effective story. The author executes these inclinations well, especially from a third person perspective.
From an aesthetic view point I especially enjoyed how each chapter was laid out from the focal point of each character. We peel back the layers of Karen, then Bob and a little later something much more sinister. An excellent opportunity to unleash conflict and plot escalation. Almost as a subtle beckon and whisper the reader is invited into the depraved psyche of each individual’s motivation. The author seems to know how to tell the story between the lines, not just the literal verbatim.
Without indulging in too many plot spoilers, its critical to mention the level of contempt Karen and Bob feel for one another. Their collective loathing for one another knows no bounds. At times we have to question why they are still with one another. Yet its somewhat of a testament into the complexity of relationships in contemporary society. A virtual expose into the elements that exist within each of us and exactly why relationships can be so difficult, is high lighted. In ways we chant their demise and seemingly unbeknownst to us we also want to see their love conquer all. For these very reasons alone, She Rises at Night makes an excellent conversational piece among readers new and old.
Perhaps most noteworthy is the exploration of conflict in varying forms. As a horror related novel, one may suspect the fear elements to be crafted from the supernatural or paranormal, at very least the unexplained. I feel the true horror examined in She Rises at Night is the terror within. Fear of the self. Bob’s darkness may eclipse any semblance of what he once was. Karen’s motives may shadow any sense of integrity she once knew. The ominous, primal evil that lurks without beginning or end creates a bloody good read to be enjoyed time and again.