Salem’s Daughters: Stephen Tremp
Debbie and Bob Stevens are about to enter what one might say is the Twilight Zone without even knowing it. Would you buy property that is considered haunted, houses 13 cats that seem drawn to those living there and without knowing it just might be possessed and angry that their new home desecrated the land where they have lived for so long. The story begins with a fire and with 23 witches escaping capture and only 17 finding hosts in order to survive. The others have no chance. But, the remaining have lived as cats for so long that when things change the outcome will be more than tragic for the new owners.
But, first let’s learn more about Debbie and Bob and their impulsive acts and thinking. Debbie hates her job and decided that since Bob was up for a promotion it would be safe to quit hers. Not everything goes as planned and sometimes what you expect gets reversed. Called into the office of Human Resources and blindsided, Bob is told he is obsolete and it’s time for more innovative blood. However, the person chosen in his place is anything but. Things spiral out of control and Bob and Debbie are now desperate for a solution before their finances run out. A simple trip into the country to clear the air starts a chain of events that would create a business for them but would be the death and downfall of others. Building a bed and breakfast is costly and having her grandparents fund the loan a blessing so they thought. But, what happens when the construction begins and Bob hears the sound of cats and finds 13 of them? You won’t believe the oddities that occur as Debbie names all but one with human names not realizing they are drawn from the real names of those inside the cat except for one named Midnight by Bob and that cat is anything but happy.
As the construction crew takes them for a tour and things fall into place the first tragedy happens as Debbie is holding a scissors and looking out of the window. The head contractor takes a deadly fall off of a ladder and the events that follow the police off on a quest to find a killer. But, why were three cats right there when Jason Hill fell to his death? What role did they have and why did three of the cats as we will learn when we hear them decide to teach Jason a lesson in safety. As Debbie and Bob are grilled by the police, suspected of the killing Jason, Emily holds a meeting of the 13 cats to uncover the killers and why.
Not allowing the death of the contractor to delay the opening of their Bed and Breakfast Debbie and Bob greet their first guests and never realized what else might be in store as the work is backbreaking and their need for help paramount. But, the cats rallied together and when Rebecca returned after making sure she took care of the family she was sent to live with, the cats threatened mutiny if Emily did not allow them to kill another guest.
Realizing that she still felt bangs of guilt about what happened to her sister, knowing that sometimes you have to succumb to peer pressure, the cats set their sites on another guest and the end result just might ruin it all for Bob and Debbie. Thirteen witches with incredible powers and abilities and hunted down and not able to live regular lives. Now, they would have to be satisfied as cats. Listening to them discuss their strategies and understanding their plight does not negate the fact that something more will happen as the Bradley’s arrive and explain the past history of their land and why they feel it is cursed. Deaths occurred many times to man people living the old structures and even in the present nothing seems to have changed. Watching the cats hiss at Erma should have enlightened them to the fact that maybe Bob is right and the cats just might be possessed. But, who would even believe that!
With the police at hand and the two detectives wondering what is really going on, the cats on the prowl what happens next will take the situation ten steps further. Powers that each cat has that many humans would like too: Telepathy, the ability to set fires, cause explosions, levitate objects, project thoughts into a person’s mind, create vivid dreams, suggestions and much more as their next victims the Johnsons enter the Murcat Manor and the games began. A murder so deadly, scary that the victims never saw it coming at first as one man had some vivid dreams and the final words before he woke would haunt him before taking his life. As he took his last breath his wife went berserk and fell down a flight of stairs to her. Two detectives that were certain that Bob and Debbie were the cause of all four deaths until Maria Gonzalez their housekeeper is found dead while they were being questioned at the station. No one realizes the cause and no one suspects that 13 cats, which are really hiding their human bodies inside these hosts, have dedicated their sixth life out of nine to taking that of others.
When the situation becomes dire Ross and Erma take action like you won’t believe. Deciding to change the names of each of the ten rooms and the theme to that of something science fiction oriented, Murcat Manor is now undergoing more than just an overhaul but how would the cats react? The Brady’s, the police, the lawyer they hired to defend them and a cast of characters that are totally unique, strange, scary and in Bob and Debbie’s case even slightly naïve or nearsighted as they don’t realize that what is happening around them has been caused by 13 cats that show up at odd times, never dawning on them that the two previous owners lost their lives and property to fires too. When will anyone turn his or her attention to the cats? Maria’s death was the most horrific as no one can face the harsh realities that maybe it’s time to get out!
When American Ghost Stories came to the Manor and did a live show what happens would reveal to Emily the head cat that someone knew they existed and they were in danger. Then Bob had his dreams explained, the fear of death placed within him and a show that would as they explored the basement while the cats and Emily reflected back in time on memories of the past 400 years.
When the truth is revealed and Emily and the cat’s faceoff with some named Indian Joe the battle was on, lives were lost, bodies were strewn and another crime scene is afloat. Detective Darrowby is relentless and now matter what Bob and Debbie say he does not believe anything. A dead Indian, dead cats, dead detective and a lawyer yelling to be heard, this one Manor that no one is going to want to book a reservation in unless they have an in with the cats. But, they were not giving up and guests were booked and each room was filled as Grandma Erma intended to deal with the cats herself. But, Emily is shrewd, the others filled with hate and what happens is right out of a science fiction horror movie, as author Stephen Tremp does not create a violent car chase, or a murder scene like in CSI but something straight out of Steven King or Alfred Hitchcock Presents. An ending that will cost Debbie everything as she finds out the true meaning of deception, lies and deceits as her lawyer recounts all those that are dead because of her, parents that have divorced themselves from her and a feeling of desperation when the end result and her final fate is revealed. What happens will frighten most sane people and would normally drive someone over the edge? An ending that is quite compelling as Debbie realizes that some things never end. Cycles can return and what you think happened to 13 cats is just a momentary illusion created by a creative author who leaves readers wondering: What’s next for Murcat Manor? What happens after it is torched again? What is the fate of the cats? Debbie faces loses that she cannot deal with and the hope of what she thinks is going to happen next is in the hands of someone that thinks she is crazy. What is the fate of Murcat Manor? Will the rebuild on the property? Will the cats return? Ask Emily! One scary book. Thirteen scary and possessed cats! One great novel.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews