Thursday, February 20, 2020

Claire by Terri Peterson (horror witchcraft romance)

If you are a regular reader of my reviews, then the name Terri Peterson should be instantly familiar to you. Whether it is the feminine sexuality of her Le Cachot series or the dark transgender erotica of the Smeared Lipstick and Strange Little Girls sagas, she is an author I have had the great pleasure of watching develop through darker, deeper, more diverse stories and characters.

Claire, her latest, is both a continuation of those themes and a complete departure from them. There is no bondage or domination to be found here, no bending or blending of gender, and very little in the way of explicit sex. Instead, this is an increasingly unsettling tale of personal horror that makes something creepy of a love-at-first-sight romance.

Terri is one of those authors who always has a few surprises up her skirt, one who loves to corner the reader and then ambush them with a shocking twist - or two. Neither characters nor narrative are entirely trustworthy, and motivations are muddled at best. There is nothing simple or straightforward about her stories, and that is what I love about them.

Scott is the protagonist here, the hero or victim if you will, but he is hardly the everyman you might expect. He is a bit of a stalker, clearly has anger issues, and his lack of remorse over killing a man should raise a few red flags. The thing is, Claire is hardly a damsel-in-distress, and the more we learn about her, the more we begin to suspect Scott has met his match - in more ways than one.

Perhaps what I loved most here was the way Terri blends the mystery of who Claire is and what is really happening with Scott's wavering, fatalistic acceptance of the horrors around him. Something that is asked in a lot of Terri's books is whether it is okay to do bad things for good reasons, and that is what drives this more than anything. It is a wonderful work of horror, and one that deserves to be discovered by audiences both new and familiar.

'Terri' Peterson, was born August 19th, 1969, and spent what she referred to as 'a miserably failed experiment in tyranny' at a typical secondary school, where she was bullied relentlessly and made fun of. She left with no regrets, a handful of qualifications for a career in banking, and bitter memories of time spent being the object of ridicule by her peers. Being myopic, gauche, skinny and flat-chested, sporting a head of rich auburn hair, made her a daily target for abuse, which she escaped by becoming immersed in the fantasy world of writing short stories.

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