Wednesday, January 23, 2013

CURSED CASINO by Sara Brooke_Review


Review of Cursed Casino by Sara Brooke
5 Stars

Sara Brooke demonstrates a hallmark of an excellent writer: starting off soundly, and then improving with every single new writing, whether it’s novel, short story, or novella. If I had to choose between all of Ms. Brooke’s publications to date, I think I would select “Cursed Casino” and “Kransen House,” though I rate all excellent and well worth rereading.

The reader’s hook in “Cursed Casino” grabs the reader immediately; I don’t know how anyone could put the book down after those scenes, certainly not me.  I like Sara’s approach to character backstory. I really liked the concept of rebuilding the exact same type of hotel and casino, with the exact same name, on the exact same location-two years after the destruction, because that is SO tempting fate and SO inevitably going to have ugly consequences. In both cases (prior to the hurricane, and in the contemporary renovated casino) it’s amazing how totally na├»ve the patrons and management are: sort of a “it can’t happen here mentality” (I’m thinking of, for example, the Jonestown Flood, the Toccoa  Falls Flood, and of course Katrina) simultaneously with a “it won’t happen to me, if it happens at all” hubris. Gotta love it..because of course the readers knows how wrong that is.

       And I like that gentle telegraphing, by which the Supernatural elements are brought in subtly at first. By Chapter 3 I had serious chills going on, ready to see what this author could bring forth. Another good element is in Ryan’s recounting of the history surrounding the end of the prior casino/barge and the lobbying to build the new one. In the background, I could easily visualize the “new ownership” being some kind of holding company orchestrated by the Devil, or some demonic element, specifically to create a similar situation in which to wipe out hundreds of people at one time, as did the hurricane.

       I think that the best theme for me in this story is the working out of the karma due to the hubris, the sheer overwhelming GREED that motivated the construction and operation of the first casino, and then the new construction of the replacement; that GREED that determined that hundreds of lives lost was an immaterial cost of operation. Such arrogance, to rebuild at all, plus in the same location, and then to schedule opening for the anniversary date!

              I really did not expect any of the denouements of the last several chapters (though I applauded all) and not of the Epilogue-but again, the outcome was very fitting. In summary, this novel rocks!

1 comment:

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