Title: Satan’s Grip
Author: Paul Sherman
Release Date: March 28th, 2016 by Dreaming Big Publications
Inspired by the black magic novels of Dennis Wheatley.
Esther’s eighth birthday.
The day that her mother, Charlotte, had been fearing.
As a teenager, Charlotte had gotten involved in a satanic cult and had made a promise to Satan that he could have her firstborn child. At the time, she really didn’t believe any of this was true. It was just a silly thing she did to fit in.
Can Charlotte save Esther from Satan’s grip? Or is she destined to fulfill that long-ago promise?
Satanic cult? Black magic? Satan himself? Count me in. The brief and concise summary did wonders for setting the scene and tone of the novella without giving too much away.
Personally, with the idea of Satan being involved, I expected the demon related aspects to be more of the monsters and ghouls that end up on the big screen. Sherman gives us that, along with a mystical guide that seems to come straight out of Dante’s Inferno, but also shows us how dark human beings themselves can be and how close we can come to the fictional monsters we fear – which arguably is the scariest aspect of this whole story. He also, in the midst of all this darkness, manages to give us some light through the innocence of Esther herself and a new-found light through Charlotte. This new-found light really demonstrates the real, internal change that Charlotte has gone through and used to transform herself before the reader comes across the story. Charlotte’s drastic transformation keeps constant tension on the immortal question – Which is stronger: light or dark? heaven or hell? good or bad?