The Covenant Sacrifice
by Lee Allen Howard
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Pub Date 14 Jul 2023 | Archive Date 05 Dec 2023
Three First Names, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Titles
When the dead return to abduct the living, the living turn into monsters…
Jarod Huntingdon wants more than anything to start a family, yet he’s unable to commit to his girlfriend and isn’t sure why. When the father of his childhood best friend, Scotty, passes away, Jarod takes the opportunity to return home to the remote rural community of Annastasis Creek for a season of soul-searching.
But overnight, a violent rainstorm traps everyone in the valley, blocking roads and severing communication with the outside world. And one by one, the residents of Annastasis Creek go missing.
While helping with the search efforts, Jarod learns of a curse as old as he is, one tied to the reappearance of the cicadas, first placed on the community after five young people perished in a house fire decades before. To temporarily appease the curse, defrocked Pentecostal pastor Uriah Zalmon must find a sinner to sacrifice.
The dead are returning to Annastasis Creek…
Can Jarod break the curse for good, save the innocent from the homophobic Covenant Trustees, and vanquish what the screaming cicadas have awoken?
A Note From the Publisher
eBook (ISBN: 9781733700955)
Cover art by François Vaillancourt
eBook (ISBN: 9781733700955)
Average rating from 34 members
This was a very well written horror. I’m not sure it brought anything new and amazing to the genre but it was a very enjoyable read none the less. I liked the atmosphere and dread that the author was able to build.
I’ll look forward to reading more of what Howard writes in the future.
In Lee Allen Howard's gripping and haunting novel, "The Covenant Sacrifice," readers are taken on a chilling journey into a remote rural community where the line between the living and the dead blurs, and the true monsters may not be what they seem. With a captivating blend of supernatural horror and psychological suspense, Howard weaves a tale that left me on the edge of my seat until the very last page.
The story revolves around Jarod Huntingdon, a man desperate to start a family but held back by his own uncertainties. Seeking clarity, Jarod returns to his hometown of Annastasis Creek after the passing of his childhood best friend's father. However, his homecoming is marred by a violent rainstorm that isolates the community from the outside world, leading to the mysterious disappearance of its residents one by one.
As Jarod gets involved in the search efforts, he stumbles upon a centuries-old curse tied to the reappearance of cicadas. The curse, inflicted upon the community after a tragic house fire claimed the lives of five young people, demands a sinner to be sacrificed to appease its malevolent forces. Unraveling the secrets and facing the horrifying truth, Jarod must confront the defrocked pastor, Uriah Zalmon, who holds the key to breaking the curse.
Howard's writing style is lyrical and atmospheric, painting a vivid and eerie portrait of Annastasis Creek and its residents. Howard builds suspense, ratcheting up the tension with each new revelation and eerie occurrence. The vivid descriptions of the cicadas' song and the rain-soaked valley heighten the sense of dread that immersed me in a world teetering on the edge of darkness.
Jarod Huntingdon is a relatable and empathetic protagonist, struggling with his own fears and uncertainties while facing the horrors unfolding around him. The supporting characters, including the enigmatic Uriah Zalmon and the Covenant Trustees, adds depth and complexity to the narrative, with their motivations and secrets gradually unveiled.
"The Covenant Sacrifice" is more than a traditional horror novel. It explores themes of family, identity, and the destructive power of secrets. Through Jarod's journey, Howard investigates the consequences of unresolved guilt, the dangers of blind faith, and the lengths people will go to protect their loved ones. The book also touches on social issues, tackling homophobia and the manipulation of religious doctrine with nuance and sensitivity.
With its blend of supernatural elements and psychological suspense, "The Covenant Sacrifice" will appeal to fans of horror and thriller genres. Howard masterfully crafts a story that kept me guessing, delivering both chilling scares and profound emotional resonance. As the dead return to Annastasis Creek and the cicadas' relentless song fills the air, readers will find themselves captivated by this atmospheric and thought-provoking tale of darkness and redemption.
Jarod Huntington, a caring wound care nurse living in Pittsburgh is pressured to return to his hometown, Annastasis Creek. Even though the trauma of his past has been keeping him away, Jarod decides to attend the funeral of his high school best friend Scotty’s father.
Little does Jarod know that his hometown is home to more than just homophobic pastors and bad memories.
After the funeral a torrential rainstorm traps the town in through landslide and townspeople start to disappear including Scotty's niece. Alongside the disappearances, the dead seem to be coming back to life and so do the mysteries of the past.
With no other options, and unable to sidestep his feelings for Scotty, Jarod helps investigate the missing townspeople. Which leads him to a defrocked Evangelical Priest and the sins of the church’s past.
Lee Allen Howard does a phenomenal job of capturing how creepy and isolating living in a remote rural town can be, even when there are no supernatural forces at play. His story always brings out a side of rural America that is seldom spoken about, finding the courage to accept who you are and reach outside of the strict society norms that are placed on you.
Lee Allen Howard does a great job in creating a great demonic horror novel. I enjoyed the concept of the dead returning and turning the living into monsters. It had everything that I was hoping for and enjoyed how everything worked overall. The characters were wonderfully written and I cared about what was happening to them.
The Covenant Sacrifice by Lee Allen Howard is a terrifying tale of an obscure religious sect and the damage it does to a small rural community during an isolating stormy weather crisis. under Howard's expert hands, he takes us to the scary places that linger just beyond the underbelly of what is respectable and safe, he forces us to look past the lies we tell ourselves every day only to cut to the meaty bone at the heart of the matter.
i loved this book. i really did. the story moved quick and fast, not slouching on the gore when it was needed. the characters were unconventional and very lively, a welcome change. i loved the two sets of bad guys. that was killer good and unexpected.
to sum things up:
5 stars out of 5.
The dead return to turn the living into monsters – or were they monsters all along?
Lee Allen Howard weaves a well-crafted, multi-layered plot, stringing together many storylines and complex topics. Oh, there are all the gripping, terrifying staples of the horror genre: secrets, curses, supernatural happenings, religion at its very worst, unexpected twists and turns, bloody retribution…
But add to that a chilling dose of reality – violent bigotry, prejudice, issues that are plucked right from our dark history —, and you get a highly original story that merges horror with deeper themes. The LGBTQIA++ romance ties it all together, showing both what's at stake and what's worth living for.
I do wish that the author went a bit heavier on the horror and a bit lighter on the romance – but that's likely because I'm not much of a romance reader!
In my eyes, the most important characters are very well-written, showing depth and complexity. I do feel like some side characters fell a bit flat; they could've been explored further, regarding their personality and motivation. However, since they are more on the fringes of the story, it does not detract much from the overall reading experience.
Some dialogue felt a bit unnatural, especially when the story nears its resolution. But other than that, the writing style is amazing. With vivid descriptions, it orchestrates an eerie feeling of dread and isolation, building up an atmosphere that appeals to all senses.
But what I appreciated most was that it conveys deeper meaning with horror and suspense, luring the reader into a captivating, thought-provoking tale.
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