Not All Exorcists are Equal....One is Marked
When defrocked ex-priest, Jimmy Holiday, agrees to help an old friend with his sick daughter, he doesn’t expect the horrors that await him. Blackmoor, his friend’s new residence, rests upon the outskirts of the town of Sorrow’s Point. The mansion’s history of magic, mayhem, and death makes it almost a living thing – a haunted mansion straight out of a Stephen King novel. Jimmy must decide if the young girl, Lucy, is only ill, or if the haunting of the house and her apparent possession are real.
After the house appears to affect him as well with colors of magic dancing before his eyes, rooms warded by a witch, and a ring of power in his voice, Jimmy is met by a transient who tells him he has “the Mark”. Whatever being “marked” means, Jimmy doesn’t care. All he wants to do is help Lucy. But, helping Lucy means performing an exorcism.
Read an Excerpt
Book One of the Marker Chronicles
By Danielle DeVor
City Owl PressCopyright © 2015 Danielle DeVor
All rights reserved.
The Devil's Brood
WHAT WAS LEFT of O'Dell's hair blew in the wind like the last strands of cotton candy left in the machine. But it was too damn hot to have the windows up. With the sun beating down and the extra weight he'd put on over the last few years, the drive up the hill to Blackmoor turned hotter than an inferno. This year it'd been a hard summer. He'd lost count of the amount of times he had to yell at kids for messing with the fire hydrants.
He adjusted his uniform, pulling at the hem of his shirt. The stiff fabric clung to his skin like nothing else. In this heat, he'd rather be home in his cotton undershirt, sitting on the back porch and drinking a beer. But work came first.
O'Dell parked the cruiser in the drive and looked up at the monstrosity before him. Damn thing was massive — about double the size of a football field. Three levels to it. Way too huge for any normal family, but then, the Blacks were anything but normal. To him, the house seemed like Moby Dick: massive, vengeful and misunderstood. He grabbed his hanky and wiped the sweat off the back of his neck.
"Just what I need, Black breathing down my neck. To hell with you, Doris."
He closed the car door as he stretched the kinks out of his neck and took in his surroundings. No birds or any little creatures stirred. No sound could be heard other than the ragged snorts of his own breath. Goosebumps traveled up his arms. He walked the stone steps to the front door and pressed the button. The doorbell peeled in some tinkling tune O'Dell couldn't name.
No one came to the door.
Failing at the entrance, he wandered around. The place was so big it took a while to find the back. By the time he got there, his breath tore out of him and the air felt like twenty pounds in his lungs.
He stood in some sort of garden area. Flowers bloomed in beds arranged strategically about the back of the house, like something you'd see in an art book. A stone patio graced the top of the steps. He hobbled up them, still panting. The porch was large enough to host a "quiet" party of three hundred people. Yes, the Blacks were a whole different breed.
He knocked on the back door. Still no answer.
Then, he heard it, a noise at last, a thump from inside the kitchen. He peered in the side window.
It was too much for his brain to process. Flashes blinked in rapid succession as if his mind could only handle it in pieces. Red ran over the walls like a sprayed Jackson Pollock painting. It covered the doorway and dripped from the top as bright as cherry syrup. On the kitchen sink rested a dish drainer. Long black hair pooled around the severed head of Mrs. Black. The blood dripping from the neck stump had matted the hair to the counter.
O'Dell turned away from the windows and puked. Nothing like this ever happened in Sorrow's Point. The most he usually dealt with was a stupid kid shoplifting from the five and dime. He flew off the patio to the front of the house in record time. His sides ached and his head swam. Nausea beat at his gut. Fumbling with the driver's side door of his cruiser, he jerked it open, hopped inside, and pulled out his radio.
"Jesus Fucking Christ!" He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and pressed the button on the receiver. "Mable?"
"What?" Mable answered, the receiver crackling.
"I need goddamn backup at Blackmoor!"
"What? Oh God. Sorry, Walt. I'll make the call."
O'Dell released his radio and waited. The sour-sweet smell of the vomit on his shoes turned his stomach. He forced the bile back down his throat.
One at a time, the deputies arrived. For a town the size of Sorrow's Point, two deputies was all the town could afford. O'Dell's fist tightened on the handle as he got out of his car.
"Sheriff, what's going on?" Deputy Jones asked.
Boy was a young one, fresh out of the academy. O'Dell hoped he'd be able to pull his weight. He took a deep breath. "It's bad, Jake. Real bad."
Jones glanced over at the other deputy, Parker, and then turned back to the sheriff. "I've never seen you this messed up, Sheriff. You okay?"
The sweat dripped from O'Dell's head in rivulets. He glanced at his reflection in the side mirror of his cruiser. His face flushed bright red. Before this case was done, he'd need more blood pressure pills. He threw his hat into the dirt. "No, I'm not fucking okay. Black has gone and killed his whole family!" He poked Jones in the chest. "I want you to go get that sumbitch. Cuff his ass and get him in the car. You hear me?"
Jones swallowed. O'Dell watched his Adam's apple bob. Then the deputy motioned for his partner.
"Go round back," O'Dell said.
* * *
Jones crept around the side of the massive home. He looked this way and that like they had taught him in the academy. This was the first time something serious had gone down in Sorrow's Point. He set his jaw, bound and determined to do the best damn job he could.
The sheriff's footprints pressed into the tall grass, making it easy for him to know where to look. They led him to the back of the house and stopped as soon as they reached the stone patio. Something smelled sour-sweet. Flies would be swarming along soon. He walked up the steps and across to the door. The aroma grew stronger, but he didn't notice anything else out of the ordinary. Suddenly, his foot slid and he almost fell. His eyes drifted to the patio. A pile of puke, almost the same color as the stone, coated the bottom of his boot. "Great."
Backing up a step, he wiped the sole on the stone as best he could. Then, sidestepped the puddle and peered in the window. Black sat at a butcher block table, facing the window. His dark hair stood up from his head in all directions. Eyebrows arched like the Devil's own. The deep red blood covered him from head to toe. He took another bite out of the small human leg he held in his large hands, grinding his teeth through the raw flesh.
"Oh shit." Jones shook, unable to release his death grip on the windowsill. The world shifted.
Jones peered down the smoking barrel of his gun, following the path through the broken window. He hadn't meant for the gun to go off. He didn't even remember reaching for his weapon. Black's chin slumped against his chest, the back of his head gone. Bits of gray matter stuck to the wall behind him. Black's fingers relaxed. The leg fell to the floor.CHAPTER 2
Things to Start With
HERE I WAS, sleeping in my bed, warm and relaxed, when the phone rang. To a lot of people, a phone call is a mundane thing, an everyday occurrence that, for the most part, has no bearing on daily life. But this phone call, it was something else entirely.
I glanced at the clock — 3:00 a.m., the true witching hour. I grimaced. That was the last thing I needed to be thinking about. I blinked the sleep from my eyes and groaned. The phone rang again. Are you kidding me? I reached for it.
"Jimmy?" the voice asked.
I wiped my hand over my face to try to wake up. Who in the hell is this? I threw the covers off my legs and rose. Then, turned and dangled them over the side of the bed. It hit me. I recognized this voice. Someone from my past, someone I hadn't heard from in years. The voice, after all this time, seemed somehow unchanged. "Will?"
His breath hissed into the phone. "I'm sorry for calling so late."
Why was he apologizing? I wasn't sure. The deed had already been done. I'd be lucky to get back to sleep at all.
He coughed. "It's about Lucy."
A buzzing started in my brain and drifted over my body like a swarm of locusts. I had better shit to do with my time — like sleep. He was calling, waking me up, for someone I didn't even know? "Lucy who?"
"Lucy," his pause weighted the air, "my daughter."
Someone sucked all the oxygen out of my lungs with a shop-vac. I bent at the waist, doubled over. A long time ago, Will and I had been great friends. I hadn't spoken to him in who knew how long. It had been before I'd entered seminary for sure. Still though, I didn't even know he was married, but then, maybe he wasn't. Stuff wasn't all that cut and dry these days. "I," starting awkwardly, I took a breath to center and tried again, "I didn't know you had a daughter, Will."
"Aw hell." A thud reverberated over the line. "Shit. Has it been that long?"
I rolled my eyes. Yes, you idiot, it's been years. "Yes, it's been that long."
"Well damn, but ah," he said and honked his nose as he blew it into the phone. "I have a question."
One or many, I wondered, but said simply, "Okay."
"My daughter needs help, and I don't know what to do."
Not a question. I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand, trying to rub the sleep out of them. "What's going on, Will?"
He took a deep breath then hit me with the two ton question he had failed to speak earlier. "Do you still believe?"
My brows wrinkled together. A common habit. My mother used to comment on it all the time. It irritated the hell out of me. But this shit with Will wasn't making any sense. "What are you talking about?"
"God. I'm talking about God."
Oh Christ. I hadn't been asked that question for a long time. Ten years at least. And, then, it hadn't been a very happy occasion. "Yes, I still believe."
Another shaking breath told me this wasn't going to go well. "Can I meet you somewhere?"
I sat up straighter. Somehow, I had a feeling this could easily turn into one of those stories I would tell at the local bar so people could laugh over drinks. "Now?"
"Please, Jimmy. I know this is a lot to ask, but I'm desperate."
I rolled my head to stare at the ceiling. My breath escaped out of my lungs in a hiss. My shoulders slumped. Any chance at sleep disappeared. I was going to kick myself, but I couldn't avoid the inevitable. "Where are you?"
"Sitting in your driveway."
I snatched the phone away from my mouth. "Are you shitting me?" I jumped up and pulled back the curtain next to the bed. Sure enough, a green Toyota 4Runner that had seen better days sat idle in the driveway. I waved, let the curtain fall, and hung up the phone.
Damn creepy. My insides churned like I'd walked off a roller coaster. Something was wrong about this whole situation. Someone I hadn't talked to in over fifteen years randomly showing up at my house in the middle of the night?
I dropped the phone on my bed. "Hell." Bed looked good right now, going downstairs didn't. I left my room, stumbling. When I hit the bottom step, I turned on the hallway light. It bathed the room in a harsh yellow glow that stung my eyes. As I opened the front door, he stood there, blonde hair mussed, face white, hands shaking. What had happened to him?
"Come in," I said.
He stepped over the threshold and the wooden floor popped. We both jumped.
"Don't worry about it. It's an old house." It still left me uneasy. That floor had never popped there before. The over-active imagination I had wanted to cue in the creepy music.
He hobbled in and headed straight to my living room. Narrowly avoiding my pile of books, he plopped in my old brown recliner. I shuffled my feet on the brown shag carpet, dreading this conversation. I sat opposite him on the sofa.
"I'm scared, Jimmy." He blurted it out with nothing to back it up.
I shook my head. "I'm not trying to be cruel here, but what's that got to do with me?"
He leaned forward in the chair and looked me in the eyes. "I need a priest."
"Okay." I sighed. I should have known. This was going to be so much fun. "But I'm not a priest, Will."
He stared at me. "Why not?"
Oh, God. Where in the hell did I start? "Look, it's not that easy of a story."
"I'd like to know," Will said.
Fine. Not like it was a secret, so what the hell. I was too tired to refuse and it all started tumbling out of my mouth like teeth that had been busted out by a prizefighter. "My mother always said we were related to Doc Holliday, so maybe, somehow, I was trying to live up to the importance or something. But since our names weren't even spelled the same, I kind of doubted it."
Will waved a hand at me to continue.
I sighed, liking this less and less. Looking into my old friend's eyes snapped something inside me. It felt wrong and irritating and my blood pressure rose. The whole sordid affair came pouring out of me. I wondered idly how long I had kept it down. "My folks were both alcoholics. I don't know if you knew that, but it's true. Dad was a nice drunk. Mom always had these grandiose ideas." I scratched my arm and stared at the floor.
"I remember her. She kind of always had her nose in the air," Will said.
"Then you know exactly what I'm talking about," I replied. "Anyway, growing up wasn't exactly cushy. I probably don't react the same way as regular people. In a roundabout way, that's how I ended up becoming a priest. Church was the one place I felt relaxed. My mom was always bickering at my dad about this or that. Sometimes, I wonder if she drove him to drink, but I know better. There was a darker story beneath all of that."
Suddenly, a loud crash interrupted my sad tale as the noise echoed against the side of the house.
"What the fuck was that?"
Will and I jumped. I ran out the front door and around the yard. My garbage cans were knocked over. I could just barely make out a striped tail as the animal ran away.
I was breathing hard like I'd just run a marathon. Too much stress and not enough sleep. I glanced at Will.
"Well, that was interesting," he said.
My look turned to glares. It wasn't interesting. It was a pain in my ass. "You aren't funny."
His face paled. "I wasn't meaning to be."
I ignored him and went back inside. I just wanted this over and done with and him out of my house. But it was ironic that my house had been normal and fine before he'd arrived. Now, odd little shit kept happening — the popping floor, the trashcans crashing — and I was getting close to ripping my hair out.
When Will came back into the house, he seemed almost energized. Excited, maybe. He sat in the recliner. "Okay. I want to finish hearing this."
I had been hoping he forgot, but whatever. If telling him got him gone, so be it. "When I was fourteen, Father O'Malley asked if I'd thought about becoming a priest. All it took was that question and I figured it was the thing to do. As soon as I graduated from high school, I entered the seminary and that was that."
"And I went off to college."
I hummed my ascent. "It's been a long time."
He paused as if formulating words. "So I get the start, but why aren't you a priest anymore?"
It wasn't any of his damn business, and frankly, he was a bit too nosy. But if I didn't get it all out, I'd have to talk about it sometime to someone. He was as good as any. "I was fine until I finished seminary and continued 'going out amongst the people.' That's when I met Tabby. She didn't go to the church I was assigned. She didn't go to church at all. I would see her, long red hair blowing in the wind, walking past my church every day. Finally, one day I spoke to her. From that first word, I was done for. The church no longer held me. It was the beginning of the end."
I remembered it all like it was only a few minutes ago. Hell, I even remembered the smell of her. "I fell for her fast. Ironically, we didn't even have a physical relationship at that point. But a parishioner noticed I was spending a lot of time with a pretty young lady. I guess she figured that since Tabby was pretty and I was young, she needed to say something." I clenched my fists together then released them. Thinking about it still made me want to punch something. "I hadn't turned my back on my vows then, but the parishioner used poetic license and contacted my superiors. I was pissed — not only at the little old biddy who lied, but at my superiors for believing her instead of me. They wanted me to change dioceses and get away from Tabby as fast as possible. I had had enough. When I refused to stop seeing Tabby and wouldn't move, they defrocked me."
"Jesus," Will said. "And here I thought something like a church would be above shit like that."
I stretched my fingers, aching to clench them again. "It's that free will thing. Some people are assholes. At any rate, I had a hell of a debt to pay off. When you leave the church — whether you're kicked out or you quit, you have to pay the church back for your education. Tabby and I tried to stick together, but it wasn't working. Eventually, we parted ways. I got a degree in Graphic Design, began working professionally, and minus my irritation about the past, I've been pretty happy ever since." I ran a hand through my hair. "My life in a nutshell."
"It doesn't change things, Jimmy," he said, his eyes capturing mine, searching. "I still need a priest."
Excerpted from Sorrow's Point by Danielle DeVor. Copyright © 2015 Danielle DeVor. Excerpted by permission of City Owl Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The perfect companion for a dark October night, Danielle DeVor's Sorrows Point doesn't disappoint with each and every gruesome moment. However, this isn't any ordinary haunted house story, and the reader should be prepared to turn on a light or two. With chilling eeriness that creeps into the reader's mind, a tangible sense of dread and overall hopelessness for the main characters is par for the course. A definite must read.
Excellent story. Did remind me just a little of "The Exorcist" but just a little. Very scary story with just a hint of romance. Really despised the character Will and felt very sorry for the character Lucy. A must read for anyone who like stories about exorcisms.
Fantastic! This book was an impressive first read from a New-To-Me author! I am blown away. This book grabbed me from the very beginning and kept hold of me. I had it in my mind when I wasn't reading because I wanted to peel back the layers to this story. I have been in a horror novel lately, and this one was perfect. Jimmy Holiday, the main character, is a priest who left the service because he fell in love with a woman, but they didn't work out. Maybe it was because she was a witch. But this story is centered around Blackmoor Hall, an old house in a quiet town. This house has a history surrounding it, and it's dark. Jimmy is called there at the request of an old childhood friend who believes his daughter is possessed, and this story only gets more interesting from there. I'm usually very picky about writing and have a hard time finding books that I don't guess the endings. This book was one of them. DeVor had me on the edge of my seat from page one because I had to know what was going to happen. Her writing is elegant and flowing, and lush with detail. This book had all the right factors to lead into the creepiness, and the author did a fantastic job tying in flashes from the past with the current story. I love Jimmy's internal struggle, and how he had to embrace that not everything is black and white, and open his mind to the spiritual side of things to accomplish a feat that he was destined to do. The book ended wonderfully, and I saw that the author has a second book out, and I cannot wait to read that! I think her books are only going to get better from here. Fantastic writing, the writer knows her craft; this story is impressively written. She develops this cast of characters and keeps you guessing on what is motivating who, and who is really in control. I love every, terrifying, fantastic moment of this book. This kept me on edge and still has me thinking about it. Very well done! *I was given a copy in exchange for an honest review, but all opinions are my own 100%. This review was done in conjunction with NerdGirl Official blog. For more information, please visit them on Facebook.
In Sorrow's Point, Danielle DeVor delivers a terrifying story of demonic possession and the valiant fight to save the child that will have you turning on all the lights in your house and jumping at the slightest sound. The reader is unceremoniously thrown into the deep end of this tale of terror that starts with a phone call at 3 a.m. and a worried father begging for help to save his daughter's life, and its not until the very last pages that they're thrown a preserver to keep them from never coming back up. Sorrow's Point is fantastically written. Right from the get-go the author set a line of tension that was steadily ratcheted up. No excess time or words were wasted on unnecessary details. DeVor does an excellent job of balancing the interactions and personalities of a handful of characters that, when combined with her flair for writing the spookiness, I couldn't help but 'see' this book in my head as I read it. Her talent for the basic of a good horror tale, combined with her forthright addressing of problems faced in today's society (investigation of molestation, pedophilia in the priesthood, etc), and unique twists to traditional elements, combines perfectly into a goose-bump raising tale. The only reason I did not give this book a full five-star rating was because the author's choice of a female minor for the child undergoing possession made it inevitable that I would be 'seeing' Regan's face/body from The Exorcist in a few of the more dramatic scenes instead of Lucy. Yes, I know Lucy is much younger and blonde, but the mind works in mysterious ways, and the young female from that classic movie is ... iconic ... to say the least. So, in choosing a little girl to base her tale around, the author perhaps unwittingly set herself up for this issue, as it makes the whole thing ring (very) faintly of an updated version of William Peter Blatty's horrific tale. Overall, I completely enjoyed reading this book, laughing at myself at times as I was reading it because I was so spooked. I am definitely adding this author to my list of "Read-More-From". As for the comparisons to King? She's as good, if not better in some ways. This is definitely a woman in horror that you need to read. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I've never read a horror book in which the characters laughed as often as in this book. Every sentence of dialog began with "I laughed" or "Tabby giggled". And I've never read in a horror story the victims speaking to a phantom saying "Hey, you overgrown bag of bones" If the characters in the horror story seem amused by the haunting, and not frightened, why should I be frightened reading it?
Sorrow’s Point is an explosive read! I read this book in one sitting and could not put it down until the end. It has elements of horror as well as love and humor. This makes the book unique. The main characters of this book are “ex priest” and a Wiccan which caught my attention immendiately. This is an unusual pairing, but it actually creates a good synergy throughout the book and touches on what it really means to have faith. Not religion. Faith. Jimmy Holiday is the only person that a friend turns to when his daughter begins to behave abnormally. This book goes into the many steps that it will take to be granted an exorcism as well as providing a horrific first hand glance into the world of demons and possession. It is a must read for those of you looking for a new take on the demonic and with some interesting plot twists along the way.
Man was I hooked from the beginning of reading the synopsis for the story and from the first line of the book. This book is amazing! Oh my Gosh I can not tell you how much I absolutely love this book! I felt like I was watching a horror film as I read this; that was how great it was. I still have the chills since I just finished reading it and currently writing this review. I was scared witless but I still couldn’t put the book down, even during the late hours of the wee night (which is the only time I can really read) and man was it worth it! Heck yea I was scaring myself and being paranoid about seeing and hearing things as I was reading this book and every now a again tried hard not to peek over or to the side as I read. But Gosh it was so Amazing! As you know from the synopsis, Jimmy Holiday is an ex-priest and has been called on for help by a very long time friend, Will, from his hometown. He agrees to accompany Will to look at Lucy, Will’s daughter, and see what he can do to help and of course, Jimmy didn’t think it was all that bad until he got to Blackmoor. But soon he called for the aid of his ex-girlfriend to help chip in some magic and strength to his weakening self worth. (Now you see where Jimmy became an ex-priest) But anyways a whole lot of scary and creepy abnormal occurrences happened and it just grows worse and worse by the day for little Lucy’s body as her possession carries on. Jimmy haven’t been in service for a while you know and not being able to really trust in the church anymore makes it difficult on his belief on what is really happening to Lucy. He is also frustrated by the fact that he is the only one that is willing to help his friend and Lucy and angry at the church for not helping Lucy when they were contacted earlier. But he’s not giving up on Lucy and is going to make the church listen. And Jimmy, I can say I worship him! I’m not sure how old he is but maybe in his thirties because I read him as pretty young. But he just has a whole lot of crap in his life and he takes it as it comes. He also has a great personality, in my opinion, and has humor, even in scary situations like this one. I don’t know, I can’t think of the right words to describe him but I just like how he’s very intellectual and thought processy. He likes to think things through and does this “asking question and self answering” thing in his head. Which is great and highly enjoyable for the book. Oh, and this book is mainly in the POV of Jimmy but does shift to other POVs too for more background information and does jump from past to present in different chapters; which is totally fine because it helps set and tell the story. And it gives the reading a sense of a scary movie feel, to me that is and it just adds to how great this book is in making it scary. Some things I didn’t like was the repetition of thoughts and saying Jimmy does. I love his thought process but sometime, mostly in the beginning, I just got very annoyed. Like when he didn’t want to believe Lucy’s possessed and was always putting himself down or just being an ass about things. Stuff like being annoyed that he wasn’t kept up to date with Will when he himself didn’t also keep in contact, or being annoyed because of something some one did or because they asked to much questions…stuff like that. And he gets mad but keeps it to himself which is fine but he does do a lot of thinking. But I love how this book really got my heart pumping in rapids sessions because of my anticipation for what is to come in their trial. You just never know what is coming and you just have to keep on turning the pages even if it’s late. And this book just makes me feel all sorts of feelings! From giggling to down right scared, to calm and freaking out nervous. But there are also the feeling of pain and hope every time you turn the pages with uncertainty and fear lurking behind. Gosh this book just had it all and I just got to say the outcome was out of this world…….Agh….I cried but I was happy too. Maybe I was too happy I cried but..my heart….. I know for sure I’m getting this in paperback, yes sirrah. I highly Highly Recommend this and it’ll make for a great Halloween read if you don’t have plans for that night. Five, I give this a Five!