Be careful what you wish for.
Dark Avenging Angel by Catherine Cavendish is part revenge thriller, part tragedy. It’s what you would get if you mixed a cocktail of Jane Eyre and “The Monkey’s Paw” with a dash of Death Note. Intrigued? You should be.
Like Jane Eyre, the novella follows the tragic life of a woman named Jane. It begins in the 60s when Jane is a child living with her abusive father. A mysterious hooded woman comforts her. Jane calls her an angel. The “angel” carries a ledger and tells Jane that over the course of her life she can add three names and those souls will be punished. There is, however, a price to pay and the Angel always collects.
I’ll admit, Dark Avenging Angel was not what I expected. The supernatural aspect of the story is minimal though not lacking in horror. Over the course of her life, Jane encounters some of the worst evils that people are capable of inflicting on one another. While this is a paranormal novella, the true monsters of this story are human.
Cavendish has masterfully crafted an honest, yet unreliable protagonist. Jane is a damaged person and by the second act we see to what extent. She has a mean streak and low confidence. What impressed me were the passages where Jane obsesses about losing weight despite everyone telling her that she is dangerously thin. Rarely are unreliable narrators written so well or so believable.
Dark Avenging Angel will resonate well with women though victims of eating disorders and violence, regardless of gender, will empathize with Jane. In some ways, it reminded me of Richard Matheson’s work “Button, Button” in that it asks how well anyone really knows themselves or anyone else. For an original, thought-provoking, and captivating read, look no further.
About the Author
Catherine Cavendish – Cat to her friends – lives with her husband in a haunted 18th-century building in North Wales. Fortunately for all concerned, the ghost is friendly and contents herself (she’s definitely female) with switching on lights, and attempting to discover how the TV and washing machine work (it’s a long story!).
Following a varied career in sales, advertising, and career guidance, Cat is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas, and short stories. She is the 2013 joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor, which features in the anthology What Waits In The Shadows. Her novels for Samhain include: Saving Grace Devine and The Pendle Curse. Her new novella, Dark Avenging Angel is published in August 2015 and her next novel – The Devil’s Serenade – comes out in April 2016.
Her daily walks have so far provided the inspiration for two short stories and a novella. As she says, “It’s amazing what you see down by the river, as it flows through a sleepy rural community.” Those with delicate constitutions are advised not to ask!
Review Clause: The author provided me with a review copy of Dark Avenging Angel in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was provided.