By: Annette Sobolak
Publication Date: April 2010
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: July 2010
Attention horror fans – are you looking for a story that is “creepy good?” One that will keep you guessing until the very last page? Then you might want to get a copy of the new book, The Last Saint by debut author Annette Sobolak.
The Last Saint centers around the life of Mariella DiDomizio, a woman who grew up in an abusive household and is now trying to deal with a domineering husband. As a child, Mariella and her sister Helen were abused, emotionally and physically, by their father. He blamed Mariella for his wife’s death (she died in childbirth) and repeatedly told her “Heaven doesn’t accept murderers.” Helen eventually ran away from home and escaped the torment that Mariella continued to endure until her father’s death years later. Inheriting her father’s home, Mariella soon found herself living there with her husband, Dominic, and their five children.
The story opens with Dominic coming home late one night. That in itself wasn’t unusual because Dominic owned a restaurant that required he work long hours. But on this night, Dominic’s car was totaled and he was covered in blood. Dominic explained that he hit a deer, but his wife doesn't believe him. In a drunken stupor, he removed his bloody clothes and demanded that Mariella take the clothes as far away as she could and then burn them. When Mariella goes outside and sees the damage to the car, she notices a piece of flesh lodged into the grill. She surmised it was a piece of scalp and it sure seemed to be human. Had her husband killed somebody?
That horrible night eats at Mariella day and night. She loses weight and begins to suspect her husband of more and more heinous crimes. When the oldest of her five children, Junior, decides to forego college so he can join his father in the family restaurant business, Mariella believes she is slowly losing her children to the evil man she shares her bed with each night.
The author skillfully weaves a story that keeps the reader guessing. Is Dominic truly a bad person? Did he really hit a deer or is there some nefarious activity such as money laundering going on at the restaurant? Is Mariella simply imagining everything? Did her abusive childhood damage her psyche? Who should you believe?
When Mariella’s sister Helen arrives and tries to help her sister, things may slowly fall into place for the reader. Helen’s husband John is a psychologist and he too, tries to help. But still, even with these two “sane” people working to resolve Mariella’s problems, the reader may still be kept guessing.
The chapters are fairly short which has the effect of wanting to read just one more before turning the lights out. But soon, you’ll find yourself reading 10 or 12 additional chapters and deciding you have to keep reading to the end. And while you may figure out what is happening to Mariella before the ending to The Last Saint, I’m willing to bet you won’t know what’s coming at the very end. And no cheating – do NOT peak at the ending. It’s a nail bitter and you won’t want to ruin the story by peaking!
Quill says: The Last Saint will keep you glued to your seat reading until the very last page.