Review: Reaper’s Walk: Hellstone – Don Franklin
Bequeathed an unsuspecting legacy, Lita Harper has spent most of her life listening to tales surrounding the dark witch, Umaa. Stories about her ancestor have intrigued her from an early age. She knows that magic exists. She’s had proof of it every day. Though, she’s no longer sure as to whether the stories surrounding Umaa are really true.
An unexpected attack soon has her questioning that very fact. Delving into the secrets of her family’s past, Lita soon realizes that there is definitely truth in fiction. Umaa really is what her family has said she is. It’s a certainty she soon comes face to face with when her grandmother summons her ancestor’s spirit from the profound pits of Hell.
Not sure as to what to make of the new knowledge she’s been saddled with, Lita does her best to understand the machinations Umaa set forth in the past. She no longer doubts that there is a darker power in existence. Spirits and demons surround her every wake, and she knows that other supernaturals are sure to follow.
Determined to set Umaa’s wrongs to right, once and for all, Lita sets off on a journey that is not one of her choosing. If she’s to eliminate the threat against her family, she’ll need to find the Hellstone. Sadly, it’s whereabouts are unknown. Her family’s legacy means everything to her, something she intends to preserve by any means necessary. One way or another, she’ll do everything possible to thwart the Devil’s plans.
A dark and totally twisted tale, Don Franklin draws us into a world where the dark magic, demons, and the secrets of the Underworld collide. He’s taken a plethora of myths, and woven them in such a way that they’ll have you wondering as to whether there’s more truth to them than fable. He’s introduced us to a myriad of supernaturals intent on getting their hands on a set of fabled stones said to enrich the holder in different ways. Stones that are capable of destroying the world as Lita knows it if used incorrectly.
I think this is the start of truly unique series. Don has certainly set things up in a way that leaves the reader wanting to know more. I found the lore surrounding Harper Town quite intriguing. So much so, that I can’t wait to see what Lita does next as she strives to piece together the broken legacy Umaa has left behind.
After 10 generations, the Reaper is coming to collect his due…
The dark witch, Umaa, was raised for one purpose: to punish the white men for taking her people as slaves. Her revenge was terrible. Harper’s Town burned along with every living thing within its boundaries. The price was to be her soul, but she cheated death and even cheated the Devil. Impressed, Satan postponed his payment for 10 generations.
In the modern era, Lita Harper is the ten-times descendent of Umaa. The circle is closing, and it’s time for the Reaper to collect her soul.
Lita learns the shocking truth about the cursed patch of Washington D.C. that had once been Harper’s Town, and of the hooded figure carrying a scythe who can be seen patrolling the perimeter of the area known as… The Reaper’s Walk.
About The Author:
Here is a little about me. I was born in 1965 in a small town in South Carolina. I have 3 children ages 3, 4, and 21. I live in Stowe VT and moved here in 2006. My trade is professional driver, driving a mountain shuttle bus for skiers during the season. Off-season I spend as much time as I can with my children and writing.
I am 46 yrs. old and I’ve never written anything before. I got an idea in 2006 while looking at a stretch of land that was unused. I thought, what if a piece of land that is today in a metro city was cursed hundreds of years ago. That curse got the seed planted. I love all things creepy and scary: vampires, werewolves, ghosts, demons and anything else that go bump in the night. That love created The Reaper’s Walk.
The basic storyline is a deal made with the devil. It is broken and a curse is placed on the offending family along with the land that they lived on. Ten generations later one member of this family has to make good the terms of the bargain. The devil is sending the reaper to collect her soul. She searches for a way to save herself and attract the attention of beasties along the way.
I finished the story in 2010 and struggled with the nuts and bolts of writing. Grammar, structure and that sort of thing are not my strongest traits so I joined several writers’ sites to try to get some feedback and advice. I was told one of my weak points was switching tense and passive voice. I didn’t have the money for an editor and the story was not ready to submit to anyone without one, so it sat idle until this past Feb.
I decided to take a chance and submit anyway just in case someone liked the story enough to offer editing. First I tried for an agent. That was a bust. So next, I decided to just try an e-publisher. I submitted to 2 places and got a flat out no.
The third was Greyhart Press. Tim Taylor (publisher) told me to send him a partial manuscript. Then he asked for the full manuscript.
Five weeks later, he said that in its current form, he could not take the story on. However, if I did a re-structure then he would look at it again. I took his suggestions and resubmitted the story.
He loved it and offered me a contract. He said that the skills of writing could be learned, and that all else failing, a good editor could work wonders. But if the story itself was not good enough then it wouldn’t catch on regardless as to how great the writing was.
So in essence, I got published on my third query! I know that is not how it goes in the book world. I feel that I got lucky.
Growing up I have always been afraid and fascinated by the Grim Reaper. When I decided to start writing, people said to write about what you know about. Sci Fi and horror stories and movies have always been tops in my book so it is only natural that I chose that as my genre. Stephen King is my favorite author. I have always been impressed with his ability to make the readers feel as if they were a part of the story. I want to write like that. Hopefully people will enjoy my work as much as I enjoy creating it, and will continue to do so for many years to come.
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