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Review by
Shannon Riley
by Charlee Jacob
Leisure Books
Paperback, 374 pages.
$5.99 US, $7.99 Can., $14.95 Aus.
ISBN: 0-8439-5096-X

Building on the subject she broached in her first novel, THIS SYMBIOTIC FASCINATION, Charlee Jacob further explores the issue of criminals who blame their deviant behavior on uncontrollable supernatural forces. The two novels are linked as well by related characters. In THIS SYMBIOTIC FASCINATION, Arcan Tyler was a serial rapist and murderer possessed by three spirits, his own inner demons, that he struggled constantly to control. HAUNTER’s central characters are Arcan’s bothers, Harry and Elliot, both responsible for terrible acts of violence, both victims of their unnatural heredity, but both capable of compassion and heroism.

The sons of a shape-shifting mother and a womanizing father who has deserted his family, Harry and Elliot see active duty in the Vietnam War. While fighting in the jungle hells of Cambodia, Harry undergoes a bizarre transformation to become the living incarnation of the Hindu god Shiva, sent to help the survivors of a small Cambodian village.

In a struggle that leads all the way back to their home state of Texas, Harry and Elliot fight to save the children of this ravaged community from the waster, a man whose greatest pleasure is in the torment of innocents, in the turning of his sadistic lusts into art.

Charlee Jacob pulls no punches; HAUNTER is extremely graphic, and the explicit sex and grisly details may be unsettling to some readers. Yet even at its most gruesome, I found Haunter compelling and ultimately uplifting.

Charlee Jacob is the author of three fiction collections, DREAD IN THE BEAST, UP OUT OF CITIES THAT BLOW HOT AND COLD, GUISES, SKINS OF YOUTH (w/ Mehitobel Wilson) and has more than 600 published poems and stories to her credit. She is more than a brilliant writer, she is an artist, and never has her incredible talent shone more clearly than in this second novel. It is her best work to date and I am pleased to give HAUNTER my highest recommendation.

This review copyright 2003 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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