Title: Curse of the Ninth
Author: Ruthie Marlenée
In the music world, there is a superstition, Curse of the Ninth, whereby “a composer who produces a ninth symphony has reached a decisive landmark – to embark on the tenth is a challenge to fate.”
In the fall of 1930, Charley, not yet born, knows what happened to his father Doc as he lay dying. Like a changing of musical guards upon his death, Doc transfers over his consciousness to his unborn son.
Now sharing the life of his dead father, Charley has no choice except to carry out his father’s plans, including taking revenge on Doc’s killer. Despite the consequences.
Charley floats in and out of juvie, jail, and finally ends up in the U.S. Naval Hospital’s mental ward as a perfect candidate for the government’s “Project Chatter.”
Confused and threatened, Charley only wants to live like a normal person and marry the woman he loves, goals that feel impossible unless he can somehow get rid of his father’s beyond-the-grave influence.
Under mysterious circumstances, Doc dies. Some say it's an accident but Doc knows better. He has unfinished work so his spirit infuses itself with his unborn son, Charley. As Charley grows up, Doc forces his plans on his son: find his killer and avenge Doc's murder. Can Doc see the damage he is doing to his own son and move on to the afterlife or will he kill them both?
Curse of the Ninth is an intriguing premise dealing with several topics including father-son relationships, murder, revenge, the afterlife, and the supernatural. Set in two distinct time periods (1930's and 1940's), this supernatural mystery is unlike anything I've read before. Told in two POV's, the back and forth between Doc and Charley is nonlinear and confusing. The narration is hard to follow at first but once you realize what's happening, it takes on a lyrical tale beautifully composed. There are several twists and turns I didn't see coming. What is real and what is all in Charley's head is a paradox that stayed with me long after I finished reading. A haunting read and one I recommend.
My Rating: 4.5 stars
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Ruthie Marlenée is a California native and lives in Los Angeles with her husband. A James Kirkwood Literary Award nominee, she also earned her Writer's Certificate “With Distinction” from UCLA. She is the author of several novels: “Isabela's Island,” “Agave Blues,” and is currently working on the sequel to “Curse of the Ninth.” Marlenée is a ghostwriter, screenwriter, novelist and a poet whose work can be found in several literary publications.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N