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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lost in the Bayou by Cornell Deville

Lost in the Bayou by Cornell Deville
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (187 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

The Voodoo Swamp is scary, but becoming alligator bait may be a better option than having to face what’s waiting in the cellar.

People disappear in the bayou. And that’s exactly what fourteen-year-old Robin Sherwood needs to do — before her Uncle Conrad snips her toes off with his rusty garden nippers.

When her parents’ private plane disappears in the Voodoo Swamp, Robin’s uncle moves into the multi-million dollar Sherwood Estate as guardian. It doesn’t take Robin long to figure out there’s something not quite right about Uncle Conrad — besides having a metal claw where his left hand used to be.

Weird changes to crazy when he explains the bizarre game he has planned — a game that will leave Robin dead and Uncle Conrad the sole heir to the Sherwood fortune. In order to escape his devious plan and its deadly consequences, the bayou may be Robin’s only chance. It’s a risky choice, but becoming alligator bait seems a lot less terrifying right now than what’s waiting for her in the cellar.

Robin and Andy are home alone with servants; their parents have disappeared. Child Protective Services says they need a responsible adult to care for them and they have asked their Uncle Conrad to come stay with them. Not only has Robin not seen him since she was two, when he arrives he has an iron claw instead of his left hand. She doesn’t know it yet, but that’s not the only thing scary about him.

This is a psychological thriller that will keep readers glued to their chair. This author does a good job of scaring the reader with suggestive conversations and threats to the children. He makes Uncle Conrad rabid enough and angry enough to be a real danger. The children have grown up in a loving family, are close with each other and the servants, and have no idea how to respond to their new caregiver.

Mr. Deville is very good at drawing out your own fears by threatening his characters with everything from torn out fingernails to death. Just like the children, you can’t be sure if Uncle Conrad means it or is just crazy. Or maybe he’s crazy and he does mean it. But given such an ultimatum as: "I’m going to kill you unless you kill me first", what would you do?

This story has good tension, a very interesting plot line and ends with a dramatic finish. You don’t know who is going to win until the last few pages. The author managed to increase my heart rate, scare me with the creatures and people of the bayou, and kept my attention to the end. It’s an exciting read with more than one “monster” involved. Could you do what these children did?

Young readers will enjoy the action; older readers will enjoy the psychological games. There is even a touch of zombies. Do I have you intrigued yet?


Sharon Ledwith said...

Loved romping in the swawp with 'Lost in the Bayou'. DeVille is nostalgically witty with a dash of mayhem thrown in for a great read. Bravo, Mr. DeVille!

Rhea Rhodan said...

Thanks for the thorough review!

Vonnie said...

Yes, definitely one of the best YA's to come out in the past year or so.