Saturday, August 10, 2013

Night Sea Journey, A Tale of the Supernatural - by Paula Cappa - Beautifully written with an undertone of horror

3.5 of 5 Stars    Review Copy

Have you ever had a meal at a fine restaurant where the atmosphere was captivating and the meal itself was beautifully prepared, but the food actually left you unsatisfied. For me, Night Sea Journey by Paula Cappa was a bit like that.

The prologue takes us to Abasterson House, named for the angel who rules the fifth hour after sunset.  Kip is having a recurring dream where she battles a firehawk, a fierce creature, with a chest full of orange flames.  Then there's a giant black-blue serpent which manages to make the trip from her dream to reality.  Kip is prepared and manages to kill the serpent.  This is something she had had to do again and again.

In Chicago, Father Raymond Kera wakes from a dream, sweaty, his heart pounding, his legs shaking.  In the corner of his room he sees hooked shadows.  Whatever it is, it has twisted hair, claws and moldy breath.

Circumstance sends Father Kera to Horn Island, RI, to do carpentry work on a light house converted into a church.  It's there that his path crosses with Davida Kipling Livingston, dreamer and talented artist.

Left in Chicago is Father Kera's good friend, Father Garcia, who's street ministry is at odd's with the Church, not to mention how they might feel about his wife and child.

Night Sea Journey was a bit more cerebral than most of the horror I choose to read.  The story itself was beautifully told.  Cappa is a skilled writer producing beautiful prose with amazing imagery, but I had a difficult time figuring out what I was reading.  Is it religious drama, an urban thriller, a wild fantasy, horror or chick lit?  I know it's not right to pigeon-hole someone's writing and there is nothing wrong with any of those genres, but there were times it felt like I was being given too much sub plot and not enough meat.  Back to the restaurant analogy, to much atmosphere and not enough substance.

In the end there was so much left unsaid, I felt unsatisfied.  Also, there were a few errors that should have been caught in proofreading, but not enough to be more than a mild distraction.

Night Sea Journey is available now, as an e-book, from  Not one I whole-heartedly recommend, but if you're willing to take a chance you might find you enjoy it.

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