Genre: Horror; Romance; Tragedy
On the heels of his widely acclaimed debut novel Cursed Plantation, D. E. Grant strikes again with the highly anticipated second installment of his Dark Succubus trilogy.
In Cursed Legacy, the reader is taken for a journey filled with twists, turns, and more than a few skeletons. Follow along with New Orleans homicide detective Terry Hawkins as he is called to a prestigious hotel, the scene of a particularly grisly murder of a young adult male. The detective’s probe leads Terry to not only an affluent family but also several similarly brutal deaths.
Armed with only a strange picture of an alluring woman and a word from an ancient language, Terry’s digging will take him from the present day to uncovering secrets best left hidden in the past.
I have also reviewed these other titles by D.E. Grant:
Cursed Plantation (book 1 in the Dark Succubus trilogy)
I was stoked to hear that the second book in this series had released! The first installment, Cursed Plantation, was unapologetic in its brutal and realistic representation of the violence, racism, sexism, and overall ignorance during times of slavery in the US. Such realism is the heart of horror, but it was my curiosity of how Giselle’s curse carried on through the ages that really piqued my interest in picking up Cursed Legacy.
Set in more modern times, this second installment is focused largely on the experience of Detective Terry Hawkins as he investigates a few grisly murders more puzzling than anything he has yet encountered. Obviously, those who read the first book will know several things before any of the characters and admittedly, I was afraid for a bit that we would know too much and damage the mystery. However, the author has worked in enough new angles on the curse so that in addition to sharing Terry’s own tragic experience, the story remained compelling.
The detective is a very relatable character who we learn has been battling depression and alcoholism ever since the death of his wife Janine a couple years prior. By taking on case after case (the harder the better), Terry can temporarily evade the suicidal ideations constantly plaguing him. Nevertheless, this strange ordeal of young men being found shredded to bits after association with a terrifyingly elusive woman seems to drag up his demons rather than quell them.
Being a man of tangible reality rather than superstition, Terry brushes off the elderly Weatherford matriarch’s insistence of a family curse until the bitter end when he finds himself with no other avenues to pursue. Diving deeper into the history of the family, he desperately tries to find a logical explanation for the connecting details rather than give in to the possibility of an otherworldly foe.
It is the arc where Terry reads the old diaries written by Weatherford women throughout the generations to chronicle the gruesome death of every Weatherford male before they reach age 21 that is my favorite part of the book. It’s focused on the oldest entries, written by Maureen Weatherford who was a prevalent character in Cursed Plantation. Through reading her thoughts, more about Giselle’s experience is revealed.
I also appreciate that Terry seemed to have a similar train of thought reading the diaries as I did when reading the first book. Every so often, he would pause to remind himself of the period in which things were written- a dark time that was unforgiving to people of color (and women as well)- and would need to take breaks for his sanity (which I also did during Cursed Plantation). His analysis of Maureen Weatherford was what really struck me though. Just as I did, he began feeling a certain amount of sympathy for her hopeless situation, but gradually, as her heart hardened and her refusal to act honorably in any way continued, all pity fled and she became just another cowardly cog in a horrible machine.
There definitely appears to be an evolution of the curse since its origin to where it is now in a modern era. Some aspects are the same- such as the undefinable black substance found at the crime scenes and the curse’s intent on eviscerating the men and their reproduction- but there are other things which are new. For example, although the physical entity existed before, her role seems to be more tangible than some of the ‘unseen force’ acts that were in the first book.
As the story came to a close, I felt a little anxious. I had no idea how it was going to end and, having already reached a point of needing to know more and more, the nearing conclusion loomed with far too many questions. That said, I did greatly enjoy the book. The ending was both sudden and unanticipated, yet proved to be perfectly fitting. Just as with Cursed Plantation, I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment of the series!
((review also submitted to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Goodreads)
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~Sahreth ‘Baphy’ Bowden
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