Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.
Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house—a woman whose ghost may still linger. Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .
If you’re reading a novel that’s thick with atmosphere, rife with lore, fraught with tension, and chock full of characters you adore or despise, there’s a good chance you’re reading a novel by Mae Clair. This novel, CUSP OF NIGHT, ticks all of the boxes. And then some.
Maya Sinclair is a perfect heroine. She’s flawed, but in a likable way, and is the perfect vehicle to carry the contemporary timeline in this novel. I loved learning the history of the town—and the histories of spiritualism and freak genetic disorders—through her perspective. Her cohort in this story is Collin Hode. He’s an enigmatic town figure, a perfect blend of stoic, rational, honorable, and open-minded. His character arc kept me on the edge of my seat. And now I have a book crush on him. I really hope we see more of him in later novels in this series. The other town characters are just as vibrant—some I despise, others I love. The cast is rich and varied and more than capable of carrying the plot.
The historical timeline is equally riveting. I learned so much history in such a short space, and I did so without noticing because I was utterly enthralled. The characters in the past are as compelling and interesting as those in the present timeline.
And speaking of two timelines, Clair merged them beautifully. The threads combined in a perfect yet unexpected way. I was on the edge of my seat throughout, and the climax was swift and satisfying.
Clair has a way with language that’s unparalleled, and she uses her sizeable talents to depict worlds that are so vivid, the settings become characters in their own right. I didn’t ‘read’ about these places. I was there. It was literally like I was walking through my hometown. And I loved it.
This story offers something for everyone—mystery, romance, suspense, history, paranormal entities, medical anomalies—all tied up in an expertly-crafted bow. This is one book you don’t want to miss.
Mae Clair visited last week with a fascinating post on mediums and spirit cabinets—research for her novel. If you missed it, you’ll want to check it out and can do so by clicking this link. You can also connect with her via her website.