Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Frozen Shadows - Wildwoman: JournalStone's DoubleDown Series, Book VII - by Gene O'Neill & Chris Marrs - Two stories of childhood abduction

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Frozen Shadows - Wildwoman: JournalStone's DoubleDown Series, Book VII is JournalStone's seventh release in their Double Down series  This is where JournalStone puts together a single volume featuring two novellas, one from an established writer and another from a relatively new voice in horror. This time, both stories deal with children being abducted and the result is another strong entry in this ongoing series.

Gene O'Neill has five published novels to his credit and more than 140 short stories.  The shorter fiction has been published in five collections.  He has been on the final ballot for the Bram Stoker Award and has twice taken home the coveted haunted house.

Frozen Shadows begins in Sutter Creek, California and has an opening that pulls the reader right into the heart of the story.

When I was six years old, I went to live with my grandparents in Sutter Creek.  Shortly thereafter, I met a beautiful girl named Bell.  Together, Bell and I would confront an evil man who cast no shadow. These three interrelated events would significantly influence the course of my life.

I enjoyed the way O'Neill developed the main characters.  Sean O'Donnell, Isabella "Bell" Marconi, and Bobby "Miracle Bob" Mericalli were the best of friends., living a pretty charmed childhood until Mr. Shadrach Black moved to town.  Although the premise of the evil that comes to Sutter Creek is of an unbelievable nature, the story is made credible in its telling.

I love a good coming of age story and there's quite a bit of that in Frozen Shadows.  It seems that, for once, good triumphs over evil, although not without a terrible cost.  Fifty years later and on the other side of the country a story makes the news and...


Chris Marrs lives on the West Coast of British Columbia. During the day she tends bar to keep her kids fed, watered, and sheltered and spends her nights writing.  To date, several of her short stories have seen publication and in the Fall of 2013, Bad Moon Books published her novella Everything Leads Back To Alice.

WildWoman also features a killer opening line...

At the age of seven, Ghoulie Julie found a naked girl whose eyes were sewn shut.

The story itself takes place over the course of nearly 30 years.  A story of disappearing children, bullying, teenage angst, poor decisions, and redemption.

When Julie was seventeen her younger sister, Clare goes missing, a tragedy which sets her on a path of self-destruction.  Seventeen years later,  her own daughter, Natalie Jade, goes missing...


Two completely different stories of childhood abduction combine for another, largely successful, entry into the DoubleDown series.  I'm definitely looking forward  to what JournalStone has in stall for us next.

Frozen Shadows - Wildwoman: JournalStone's DoubleDown Series, Book VII is available now in both paperback and e-book formats.


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