A Crooked Mark

A Crooked Mark
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Release Date
June 20, 2023
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Rae Winter should be dead.

Some say that walking away from the car crash that killed her dad is a miracle, but seventeen-year-old Matthew Watts knows that the forces of Good aren’t the only ones at work. The devil, Lucifer himself, can mark a soul about to pass on, sending it back to the land of the living to carry out his evil will.

Matt has grown up skipping from town to town alongside his father hunting anyone who has this mark. They have one purpose: Find these people, and exterminate them.

After helping his father for years, Matt takes on his own mission: Rae Winter, miracle survivor. But when Matt starts to fall for Rae, to make friends for the first time in his life, he’s not sure who or what to believe anymore. How can someone like Rae, someone who is thoughtful and smart and kind, be an agent of the devil? With the lines of reality and fantasy, myth and paranoia blurred, Matt confronts an awful truth….

What if the devil’s mark doesn’t exist?

Editor review

1 review
A Crooked Path
(Updated: July 13, 2023)
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What worked: Psychological thriller with the creepy factor of Stephen King. Add a sprinkling of doubt on what is truth and what isn't adds to one haunting story.

Chilling with a teen protagonist, called a Sweeper, who is tasked with burning the latest person with a mark of evil. In this case, a so-called 'miracle' is anything but that. Sweepers are self-appointed through a secret organization to watch for people who survive events where they should have died. It's their belief that at the impact of the traumatic event, these survivors are marked to do evil.

Seventeen-year-old Matthew has helped his father with finding those unfortunate enough to survive those events with one goal-exterminate them before these survivors harm/kill others. Matt gives off a Sammy Winchester vibe from Supernatural only in this novel's case it's his father and not the brother who recruits him on this deadly task. I really liked the subtle terror throughout this novel and added points for a protagonist who questions his purpose in this organization.

When Matthew has to infiltrate a high school for his target-Rae-that's when his doubts resurface big time. Rae was the sole survivor of a car crash and grieves the death of her beloved father. Matt can't see how she might be in fact now really under the Devil's mark. His father tells him to get close to Rae and that causes more than doubt.

I really liked how Matt shows the pressure of a teen living a double life. The paranormal elements are hinted at and not over the top. Plus, Matt has never been in a public high school and the awkwardness of trying to fit in is authentically portrayed.

Good pacing and characters that might not be who they seem to be. This novel keeps readers on the edge of their seats wondering along with Matt if the Devil's Mark is real or really just a conspiracy theory with deadly results.

Supernatural meets the Devil's Mark where all is not what it seems. The perfect read for those who love psychological horror novels that keep you guessing.
Good Points
1. Good psychological thiller/horror
2. Supernatural meets the Devil's Mark
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