Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

”A curse beyond her darkest fears.”
New Orleans and the southern half of Louisiana have been destroyed by two back-to-back Category Four hurricanes. No one was prepared for the devastation and no one returned. Thirteen years later, “no one in their right mind ventured past The Rim.” Now known as New 2, the once grand and now decaying city is privately owned and “A sanctuary for misfits and things that went bump in the night.” The Novem, composed of nine of the oldest families in New Orleans, created what is believed by most to be a sanctuary for the paranormal.
Ari Selkirk has gone to Rocquemore House to find information about her mother who gave her up to the state of Louisiana social services just after her fourth birthday. What Ari was not expecting to find out is that her mother was schizophrenic, had a delusion about snakes under her scalp and committed suicide six months after her self-admittance, on the eve of her twenty-first birthday. Even more surprising to Ari is that family claimed her mother’s body and buried her in Greece. The doctor she speaks to, Dr. Giroux, offers to give her a box of her mother’s things. She is a little disappointed by the light weight of the box.

At seventeen, Ari has teal-colored eyes and hair that is “the bane of her existence.” Light in color it looked silver in the moonlight and was full, glossy and unnaturally straight. Her hair brings her unwanted attention and always grows back no matter what Ari does to rid herself of it. Her current foster parents are bail bondsmen and Ari is employed in the “family business.” They are supportive of her desire to find out more about her birth mother. So when Ari finds a letter her mother wrote to her, she is surprised it tells her to run and stay away from New Orleans and those who can identity her. She decides to make a quick solo trip to New 2 to find her birth records, even though she knows it’s dangerous. Ari is attacked by a man who is intent on killing her. When she finally gets the upper hand and delivers a fatal blow, he fingers a strand of her hair and ‘so beautiful” before dying. Before she can regain her senses, a truck halts and asks Ari if she is alright.
Ari realizes that it is actually a mail truck from New 2 and she decides to hitch a ride with the driver, twelve-year-old Crank. Crank also offers Ari the opportunity to stay at her family’s house and she accepts. Crank tells Ari that her brother can help her locate the information she is looking for. When Ari meets Henri she immediately notices his eyes are like her own, not quite normal. After seeing the rest of the family, Ari decides to leave. But before she can, a guy walks in the door and looks at Ari “like he could see inside her and says, ‘They’re already looking for you, you know.’” The guy turns out to be Sebastian and he agrees to help Ari find her birth records. When she goes back through her mother’s box of things, she finds an old newspaper clipping and a letter her grandmother wrote to her mother. Their family is cursed. The women don’t live to the age of 21 and always leave a young daughter behind. Unfortunately her birth records bring more questions, including a link to a member of the Novem who happens to be Sebastian’s grandmother. Ari’s day gets worse when a voodoo practitioner refuses to remove the curse from her.
Join Ari on her journey of self-discovery as she tries to find out her family history and why she fits in in New 2. Who wants to kill her and what do the Novem want with her? And why is everyone she meets terrified of her? Nothing will stop Ari even when the stakes are too high or too dangerous. Just who or what is Ari?
Part paranormal, part mythology with a bit of mystery and romance thrown in, Darkness Becomes Her is the first in Kelly Keaton’s Gods and Monsters series.

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