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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Curse of Albrecht Manor

The Curse of Albrecht Manor by Christopher C. Newman
Publisher: Dark Roast Press
Genre: Contemporary, Horror, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full
Other: M/F, BDSM, Multiple Partners
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by Xeranth

The women of the Albrecht family are cursed! For nearly three hundred years the hex uttered by a witch being burnt at the stake has stalked them down the centuries. Priests, herbal women, and even Inquisitors have been brought in to stop it from driving the Albrecht daughters to sexual-induced madness on their twentieth birthday. Nothing has worked; not even an uprooting from their native Germany to America has stopped it. Soon it just became an unfortunate fact of life if you are a female Albrecht.

It is present-day and Baron Markus Albrecht nervously awaits his daughter Elsa’s twentieth birthday. For a year he has searched for someone willing and able to halt the hex from driving his daughter as insanely mad as his sister, Franziska. Four days before her birthday he finds Noah Ravenswood, a practicing wizard and learned occultist. Noah, armed with hereditary mystical training by his mother, and Doctor Sarah Bookings his associate, he travels to southern Ohio to do battle with the Albrecht Curse.

But who or what is Noah really fighting? Is it truly a hex or perhaps a power-play by one of the Albrecht sons? Could it be the angry and distrustful Maximilan Albrecht, the eldest son and inheritor of the vast Albrecht Estates? Could it be the playboy Hans Albrecht, trying to dethrone his older brother and wrest control for himself? Can Noah and Sarah unravel the mystery before they become embroiled in the family politics, carnal activities, and deadly games at Albrecht Manor?

The Curse of Albrecht Manor is a very similar to my favorite wizard, Harry Dresden. The major difference is Noah is not a martyr to deny himself the love of a woman. From the sounds of it, he started off the same way but I feel lucky that Mr. Newman decided to condense all the internal conflict so I could get to the story.

The presentation is what Wile E. Coyote would label ‘Romanticus Interuptus’. I was treated to the forward momentum of the relationship when, just like in real life -- work, duty and responsibilities thrust themselves into the poignant moment.

What this story did was take me on a journey between Noah and Desiree’s romance; hence my reference to the Dresden files. If suspense, mystery, a dash of horror and a very human character facing paranormal threats is your thing, you are in for a treat.

The book starts off by giving me a very clear picture of why Noah’s job is so difficult and why he has many concerns about admitting love. I’d be too in his line of work. I got to meet Sarah, his partner who, for a time, I wasn’t clear on her relationship with Noah. Mr. Newman addressed that very well.

The mystery is the breaking of an ancient hex. And what a nasty hex it is. I have to give credit to the author for what I consider to be very unique and ingenious villains. Yep, there is more than one. The surprises abound in this story and at no time could I have guessed just how diabolical things would get.

I have to tell you -- due to the erotic nature of this story, certain scenes may make a stunning impact on your senses and you might find your jaw dropping to the floor as mine did—more than once.

Another aspect of this story I appreciated was Noah’s worry about Desiree throughout the mystery. This story was written in a way which I found to be real. I mean, it made sense in that I could see myself doing the same things. Yet, Noah is so focused and dedicated he remains true to his profession even with the very real threat it could pose to Desiree. Again, echoes of my other favorite wizard.

Much to my shock, Noah has to face his worst nightmare. I didn’t expect Mr. Newman to address that and again, he wove a surprising twist which I found very satisfying. Despite all of it, the Happily Ever After ended up being a twist in and of itself and I really enjoyed how it played out. There wasn’t a lot of flowery talk; it was pure emotion and raw feelings exposed for me to see. It confirmed for me the existence of a very solid HEA.

All in all, The Curse of Albrecht Manor took me on a roller coaster ride into a dark tunnel and came out into the light of love. I think I just found a new wizard to watch in Noah Ravenswood. What does the ingenious Mr. Newman have next in store for Mr. Ravenswood? I liked this book enough to want to know.

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