Member Reviews

I enjoyed the audiobook! This is my first ever horror, thriller audiobook that I got from NetGalley. I was expecting for a very scary story that would keep the light on in my bedroom overnight but it wasn’t that scary. However, I did enjoy the setting and the plot. The vivid descriptions of the places and the exciting events plus the beautiful voice of the actor who read the book made the book memorable. Thank you Mark Wheaton and NetGalley for the chance to experience the complicated life of Cecile.

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The Curse

A story of the LeClercq family and the curse which was told to follow before the death of a LeClercq. It was the story told of a terrifying wraith with sharp fingernails and long black hair that emerged from the forest to claim her victim.

Cecily LeClercq is a young lady that secludes herself from the public studying flowers in the wetlands of Carolina. After she witnesses the death of her mother she becomes a semi recluse.
One day a strange man appears and tells her a remote relative in France wishes to meet her in person. She at first resists but then she is interested in what the relative can tell her and she goes to France . There she meets her strange and reclusive relative and encounters some horrifying situations.

The book is very descriptive of the places and events. It is also a bit confusing at times and I really did have a hard time keeping straight who was a relative and who was not. I never actually totally figured out the curse even while listening to the complete audio book.

The narration in the audio book was very good and pleasant to listen to.

All in all it was a pretty good story, and if you like stories about ancient curses and wraiths you will like this one.

Thanks to Mark Wheaton for writing the story and the great narration of it, to Southbound for publishing it and to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to listen to and review.

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I struggled a little bit to get into this audiobook. The book started off with a young girl hiding with her mother from an unknown creature that brought terror to her mother. Her mother disappears and is killed - presumably by this creature that they refer to as the Wraith. Then, the story begins to follow Cecily in the North Carolina woods. She suddenly receives an in-person request from a French man, Renee, who insists that she has a dying wealthy relative in France who is demanding she visit. Supposedly, this relative leaves behind a large estate, including numerous paintings.

When Cecily arrives in France with Renee, very strange things begin to happen. She questions whether she is hallucinating this creature, who takes over the bodies of people when Cecily feels anxious or scared, or at random times. She learns that her family bloodline carries with it a curse - the Wraith appears to the women who are about to die, or who have a loved one who is about to die. The women then must choose whether to save their loved ones by sacrificing themselves, or try to ride out the curse.

The first 30-35% of the story is slow, and it felt a bit choppy, as if the book wasn't sure if it was trying to be a thriller or a story about a family's history. Then it picks up from about 35%-70% and definitely had some wonderful action-packed scenes and some humor mixed in. After 70% the story became slightly hard to follow. Much of this may be due to the pervasive French accents in the audio version of this book. It was a little hard to focus and understand the conversations and who is who.

Overall, I would say this book is "soft horror" and those who like creepy and bizarre tales with possession and murder will enjoy.

Trigger warnings include suicide, murder, blood.

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As a book/audiobook, I would classify this as a paranormal thriller, not horror. If it were a movie, I could definitely see how it would be considered horror.

I liked the main character okay, and there were some side characters I really enjoyed. I felt like they were all well thought-out.

Throughout the story, you're basically asking yourself if the "wraith" is just a mental illness surfacing in those who witness its appearance. And just when you think the story's ending is "happy" (as it can be), it's not over, yet.

I don't want to give too much away and think it's best to go in fairly blind!

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Wow, this was spooky story!
Cecily LeClerq leads a reclusive life when she learns that she has distant relatives in Paris. So despite some concerns she decides to go to France where she ends up in an old chateau deep in the woods Cecily finds out that her family is cursed somehow. And this is where all the spooky horror-ish things start to happen.
Thanks #NetGalley #Southbound for the audio version of this book

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I accessed a digital review copy of this book from the publisher.
This book was about a young woman who finds out that she had a Grandmother in France who recently died. Once in France, she is confronted with the possibility of a family curse, the Wraith. Throughout the book, she looks for the truth about the Wraith and a way to appease it forever.
I liked much of the thriller elements and the darker atmosphere, however, I did not like the ending. The ending felt too rushed and unresolved. While there was an epilogue, it did not serve to resolve questions that could have easily and realistically been answered in regard to the many ancient deaths brought up at the end. Also, I felt like the Wraith was left too open and unresolved.
This book is good for anyone who likes family curses and mysteries.

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This was an audio advance copy from NetGalley. Thank you to the publishers for providing this as an advance copy. That being said….skip this book. The narrator did a decent job, and I think it was her narration that kept me listening. The overall plot was messy and just NEVER ended. I genuinely thought that once the well had been found that the story would be solved, but alas it seems that the writer just didn’t know how to end this story. The opening being the most intriguing/scary part of this book should have been the signal to me to stop while I was ahead.

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Tragedy is nothing new for Cecily LeClercq. At a young age she was the sole witness of her mother’s death and grew up hidden away in the remote wetlands of Carolina. A stranger from Paris arrives at her work and insists she meets with an ailing family member. While at the chateau deep in the woods of France Cecily learns of the frightening LeClercq family curse and its history.

Wraith by Mark Wheaton has a great balance of mystery, supernatural and horror elements that sucked me in. The narrator did a great job differentiating each character, the pronunciation of the French language and bring just enough creepiness to the story. There were many standout characters that I enjoyed spending time with as the story progressed. I would enjoy another installment so we can learn more about Cecily LeClercq.

Thank You to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an Audio ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Mark Wheaton is a new author to me. I enjoyed this book and look forward to checking out his other books.
Wraith had just the right level of spooky/creepy for me. I love the family curse trope and the author wrote it well.
I listened to the audio book and felt the pacing and voices worked well.

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This was a fun, spooky read that made for an enjoyable audiobook! The plot wasn't the most original: a young girl adventures to break a generations old curse that has decimated her family and escape the wraith that has been haunting her since she witnessed her mother's death. But the setting was interesting, I loved the tie ins of French and world history. The writing was vivid and fast paced, although it took a little to get into it. I enjoyed this book more and more as it went on, and especially the ending. It was a straightforward, spooky supernatural read perfect for fall and winter!

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The book opens with the death of Cecily's mother under strange circumstances. Although everyone has always tried to tell Cecily that her mother drowned in the severely bad hurricane, Cecily cannot escape the memory of the ghostly figure a.k.a the wraith, whom Cecily believes was responsible.

When we next see Cecily, she is an adult and works as a botanist (?) in Charleston, South Carolina. A man from France (Rene) approaches her and informs her that the great-grandmother Cecily had never known about, wants to see her urgently. By the time they reach France, however, she is already dead, and seemingly she has taken the information she wanted to tell Cecily with her to her grave.

Cecily stays on in France for a little while longer, learning about the alleged LeClercq curse i.e., that when the wraith comes for you, you have 2 options: kill yourself or the wraith will take the lives of those around you instead. Now that Cecily has seen the wraith, can she unravel the curse before the wraith takes vengeance on Cecily and those she cares about?

While I generally liked the story, I found it to be a little slow going at times, leading to a conclusion that was somewhat unsatisfactory. Even though billed as "horror", I didn't find it scary. I didn't really feel any edge of my seat tension either, to be honest. I thought it was more of a mystery / thriller with a ticking clock (i.e., Cecily only had a certain amount of time to solve the mystery before the wraith got her).

That being said, the story line is interesting and the book was well written. I also liked the audiobook. The narrator was really good.

SPOILER ALERT: By the end of the book we find out that a LeClercq hundreds of years ago was a giant monster who basically stole land and killed a bunch of people. The wraith is the tormented spirit of one of those murdered people. Since the LeClercqs have benefited from this theft and murder, the wraith comes to ruin the lives of the descendants and/or kill them. Cecily ends up solving the mystery and puts everything to rights -- but at the end of the book, the wraith is still following her around.

Why was the spirit not satisfied? This was just annoying to say the least. I think that I would have given the book 4 stars had it not been for the ending. Because honestly, if the curse wasn't lifted by solving the mystery and putting things right -- then what was the point of the book?

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Once I started this book I couldn't stop. Though confusing at times, it does come together in the end. It's a story about family, secrets and sins of the "father". Cecily must unravel the mystery of her family's past before its too late for herself and the ones she cares about.

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Thanks NetGalley for an advanced audio copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I can’t say that this book did much for me. The book starts out with a young girl, Cecily and her mom trying to ride out a storm on the Eastern seaboard. Her mom is washed away and the next time we see Cecily, she is in a forest looking at endangered plants. Cecily now lives in Charleston and works for a woman who is an exotic plant decorator. She meets a mysterious Frenchman named Rene who whisks her off to Paris to meet her great grandmother that she didn’t even know about. On the plane, she sees the wraith, she also saw it just before her mother died. Long story short, supposedly the wraith is killing people in her family. Throw in some panic attacks, or is Cecily seeing the wraith when no one else can? Of course the great grandmother is dead before Cecily gets there. Was it suspicious? What about her great grandmother’s sister? This book was too convoluted for me. Skip it.

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3.75 stars is more the way I feel about this book. The mystery is good with several twists and the misdirection from Wheaton during the story are great. Typically I see them coming a mile away, which is why I have cut back on my mystery novels. The creepy vibe through the entire book was awesome. After the preface I actually said out loud, "Oh I am so in."

What are my reasons for taking away stars? The ending. The ending of the book still left me with a couple of questions. Now that could be the way some people prefer stories to end, me I like a nice bow on it unless there's a sequel.

Finally the only other complaint I have and it is totally personal to me, I find the main character mildly irritating. Not totally dislikeable but just annoying.

Wrapping it all up this book starts out of the gates on fire, gets tired in the middle, and limps across the finish line. This is all in my opinion of course. I would suggest for you to read it if you are a fan of horror or mysteries. Don't take it as I'm dogging this book, quite the opposite I enjoyed 80 to 85 percent of it, the last parts just weren't my cup of tea. Definitely worth checking out though if you are a fan of these novels

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I unfortunately had to DNF this book. It couldn’t keep my attention no matter how hard I tried. It had the elements of horror in the prologue but once I got into the main book I was so bored.

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I really enjoyed this thriller. I was hooked in the beginning. I loved all the descriptions of the wraith and different locations.

I wouldn’t this was necessarily a “horror” because nothing seemed to give me those goosebumps I’m hoping to get when i read a horror novel; however, it kept me on my toes throughout the entire book.

I deducted some stars because the middle section felt never-ending to me. It would’ve been better if it was a bit shorter - maybe less running around.

Overall, I liked it! I think it would make a great movie.

Thank you to NetGalley and Mark Wheaton for giving me this chance to read Wraith!

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First off, the narrator for this audiobook was perfect. Her voice really captured me and it was a pleasant (if not creepy) ride to and from work. Plagued by a curse that haunts her family, Cecily LeClercq is orphaned early on in her life. In her twenties, a man arrives to inform her that her estranged great-grandmother is dying and wants to meet her before she passes. In France. Grudgingly, Cecily agrees.
Even before her feet touch French-ground, the family curse rears its ugly head once more. Convinced in childhood that the wraith Cecily saw murder her mother is simply a figment of her trauma addled mind, she is terrified to learn that she is once more haunted by this creature's image.
Before Cecily can meet her long-lost grandmother, she died in a particularly gruesome suicide (or is it?) leaving Cecily to follow haphazard clues about the family curse to save herself from the wrath of this vengeful wraith.
I enjoyed the action and the bonds that Cecily was able to form as she navigated the deadly chase. However, there were some issues with the storyline that I found to be predictable, and then some places where the story didn't make sense in terms of the Wraith and her motivations toward the LeClercq family. Particularly the order in which each LeClercq fell victim to the curse.
This was a relatively quick read, enjoyable to listen to and a very interesting story line. Story-wise, I'd give this a 3.5-star rating; but the audio edition was so nice to listen to I bumped my rating up to 4-stars. Highly recommend this narrator.

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By Mark Wheaton

Cicely LeClercq spent her youth with her French mother, Sandine, as ‘we-two against the world.’ Cicely and Sandine were constantly on the move, spending only a couple of months in any place. Until one night, as a hurricane hits their Florida trailer, Sandine tells her daughter, “She’s here.” There is a wraith in the storm and Cicely watches her mother flee the wraith by walking into the sea.

Years later, Cecily is called to France, to her ancestral home, summoned by a grandmother whom she has never met. She learns that The Wraith is real and has cursed the LeClercq family. Cecily tries to uncover the reason her family is cursed as everyone she meets is either harmed or possessed by The Wraith.

Wheaten spins an interesting and historical tale, about an estate built by greed and the disregard for human life. About mothers and their daughters and their superstition and sacrifice. About endangered ancient forests and protected plants and the unstoppable progress of man.

And yet, it is a full-fledged horror story with a truly frightening entity and a building tension as Cecily digs deeper into her family’s bloody past.

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This is a good horror book that never ends. I thought once the wells and bodies were found the Wraith would be at peace, however it seems like it will never end. When the author ends the book it is proven that the book never really ends. I am giving this a hard 2 for this reason as it seems like the author had writers block and left is wide open. This may not be bad if the book were headed for a book 2 or if it was good enough for a second in a series but it is definitely a will not recommend for me.

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Audio review: Narrator was decent and easy to listen to.

Main review: This should have been completely in my wheelhouse but I just felt no connection to the characters at all - at least not until we met the gay French couple and even then, the interest was transitory. And the thing is this really isn't a bad book. The writing is decent. But somehow the family curse, the 'wraith', the characterisation and the pacing just don't all come together. I found myself quite uninterested in where the story was going. I think for me, good horror focuses on the characters - their quirks, their foibles, the internal conflict that is to be mirrored by the external horror - and the horror plot should happen around them. Wraith just doesn't do that ergo it lost me. However, how I engage with horror is just one way so someone else might really enjoy this. For me it was just okay.

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