Review: Circe – Jessica Penot
David Black will do anything for his wife, including sacrificing his own career in order to make sure she stays happy. Returning home to Alabama, he takes an offer to work at the old psychiatric hospital called Circe. He’s not thrilled about the idea in general, but Pria’s happiness is of the upmost importance and overrides all of his desires. What Pria wants, she gets, and what she wants is a stable home in Alabama, one she demands he provide for her.
Settling into his new life at Circe, things are anything but normal. Most especially when David finds himself drawn to Dr. Cassie Allen. She’s beautiful, brazen, and she also claims to be a witch. While he’s not exactly sure if she’s actually what she claims to be, he’s willing to give her the benefit of a doubt. She intrigues him to no end and he wants nothing more than to discover the secrets she harbors within Circe’s walls.
Lost within Cassie’s allure, David finds himself immersed within a world he never thought possible. Her dabbling in the dark arts makes him wonder if he’s begun to lose his mind as the body count within Circe’s walls begins to rise. He tells himself that Cassie doesn’t have a hand in what’s happened, but deep inside he knows better. Her behavior is downright psychotic and she’s doing things he can’t quite explain.
His wife has started to notice the changes in his demeanor, demanding that he tell her exactly what he’s up to. She loves him and wants to stand by him, but she needs to know what’s wrong in order to help him get better.
David, on the other hand, isn’t quite sure as to what is real or what is a figment of his imagination. His time within the facility has started to play heavily with his mind, making him question his very sanity. There’s something different about Circe, something he can’t quite explain. He knows he’ll need to figure out what that is if he’s to succeed in coming back from the brink of darkness. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.
While this is not your usual paranormal read, I think Jessica did a beautiful job in drawing out each element of the story’s otherworldly setting quite beautifully. It’s chock full of intrigue, suspense, and quite a few instances that make you go, ‘Wait . . . did that just happen?’
Granted, there are also quite a few spots that make you go ‘Eww,’ but I think that’s what makes Circe truly unique. The facility is a character in itself that leaves the reader wondering what will happen next within its walls. Beautifully crafted, it’s a story that will keep you turning pages until the very end.
Dr. Black is a good man with a few vices. He is willing to sacrifice his career for his wife, Pria. He takes an internship at a hick institution in Southern Alabama to make his wife happy, but once he is situated in this old hospital, he finds that old habits die-hard.
He is sexually compulsive and easily seduced by his supervisor, Cassie, who takes him to the bowls of the institution and shows him its tragic history. As Dr. Black loses himself in his obsession with Cassie, he becomes convinced that she is the key to Circe’s mythology and magic and a series of bizarre murders leaves him convinced that she has opened the gates to another world.
Madness and sanity begin to blur for Dr. Black and he becomes entangled in the mystery at the heart of Circe. A mystery that’s as old as the ancient hospital itself. A mystery that could incriminate Cassie, an old god, or Dr. Black himself.
About The Author:
I am a therapist and writer who lives in Alabama with my three corgis, children, husband, and other strange creatures. My short stories have been published in numerous literary magazines and anthologies including CSM, Summer Gothic, Bound By Blood, and Outer Darkness. I have ghost story columns in theValley Planet and White Cat Magazine where I share my love for ghost stories that send shivers down your spine and keep you up at night. I also share my passion for all things ghostly and haunted at my blog, ghost stories and haunted places.
I am currently working on my next Haunted America Book for History Press,Haunted South Alabama. Follow me at my blog to learn about the ghost stories I am chasing and collecting for this fascinating addition to Haunted America. I’m also workng on the next book in my Circe series. The demon is awake and waiting for my new heroine in the swamps of Southern Alabama.
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