Friday, March 8, 2013

Unholy Hunger: A Novel (Lure of the Serpent #1) by Heather James

Evelyn Barrett wants to die. As long as her daughter's murderer dies with her, she is ready to go. Why did this man--this stranger--destroy her family? Why has he not been brought to justice? Why is she forced to live a life of anger and grief? Amid a million questions she cannot answer, Evelyn knows one thing for sure: this murderer must be punished for his crime.
Before it all, she was a successful attorney who won all the hard cases. Now that the case is personal, Evelyn will stop at nothing to seek her own version of justice. When another girl goes missing, Evelyn plows forward, ignoring the warnings from police detectives, the pleas of her grief-stricken husband, and the strange, almost supernatural tingles that tug at her. But as she follows the stench of evil, Evelyn learns that the hardest thing she will have to face may not be the death of her child after all. Perhaps the harder lesson is this: the ultimate truth--of crime and verdict, of life and death--cannot be swayed by a mother's revenge.
In this first book of a new, page-turning series, a woman will be brought to her limits before she finally recognizes the movement of the Holy Spirit and reconnects with the source of true peace.

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications (December 14, 2012)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
  • e all reviews

Heather James

Heather James is an author, attorney, and columnist. Unholy Hunger is the first novel in her Lure of the Serpent Series.


Yes, I wanted to die. As long as my daughter’s murderer died with me, I was ready to go. I was already three quarters of the way there after the blow he had given to my head. Everything turned black for a moment as the sudden, slicing pain radiated into numbness. Black then gave way to a white, heavenly blur, and I strained to see past the world closing in on me. I saw a brown shirt, faded jeans, blackened eyes . . . oh, there he was; there slouched the monster against a kitchen counter. He was clutching one side of his chest, futilely trying to seal the singed bullet hole and cupping his warmed blood before it all bubbled out to the cheap linoleum below.

I fought to see more, to take it all in deeper and beyond the fuzziness of my depleting consciousness, but something oozed over my left eye. More blood. My blood. I blinked, but that made it worse, further welcoming the dark, sticky stuff to seep in from my open wound.

His mouth moved; his lips puckered in and out trying to say something. He looked like a fish plucked from the ocean and left to die on a pier caked with bait and spilled guts. I wondered what he was trying to
say, or maybe even ask. Perhaps the question of the day for him would have been a big fat, “Why?

If he had managed to ask that, I knew how I’d respond: “You want the Why? Join the club, you dying carp.”

Read Chapter 1 here:

Praise for Unholy Hunger:

“The realized nightmare of every parent, written in a strong, unique voice 
with a striking use of black humor to soften the unspeakable. Heather 
James is definitely a suspense author to add to your must-read list. Is there 
honor in revenge? You’ll have to read to find out.”
—Jordyn Redwood
author of The Bloodline Trilogy

“Crafted with the poetic precision of a master, Unholy Hunger will keep 
readers turning pages into the wee hours of the night. Not only has 
Heather James delivered a deeply emotional story, she has included plot 
twists and well-researched details that will ring true for those who have 
endured the tragic loss of a loved one. No doubt, a legion of new fans will 
be eager to read more from this stellar debut author.”
—Julie Cantrell
New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of Into the Free

“Heather James’s incredible writing strikes the heart, chills the bones, and 
brings triumph to the spirit. A page-turner to the end!”
—Cindy Martinusen Coloma
best-selling author of twelve novels including Orchid House
and Winter Passing

My Review:

A Blip from an Atheist: "He who fights with monsters might take care, lest he thereby becomes a monster."  That one is courtesy of Freidrich Nietzche. Despite the fact that I don't normally trust God-haters who suffer mental breakdowns, I think he got it right with that one...Enter monster.

My first thoughts are to say that this book will chew you up and spit you out. It is heart wrenching, especially for a parent to read. It will bring out the best in you. It will bring out the worst in you. And, just as you think you've taken as much as you take, it will hit you again and again.

"Blame the Darkness...It all started with Eve and a piece of fruit. They call her deed original sin for a reason. Besides, I think the world is used to blaming others, and I'm no exception. I might as well go back to that first finger pointing before I try to explain why a God-fearing girl such as myself thought nothing of chasing down a bad man for what I thought were good reasons...Suffice it to say, I am a daughter of Eve, and I didn't hesitate all that much when it was my turn to take a bite of that apple-partake in the forbidden when I heard the right words and felt the right sort of entitlement. The one thing I didn't do as Eve had, at least not until it was too late, was point the finger at that stinking serpent and shift the blame where the blame was due."

Those are my first thoughts. The book will also make you laugh and it will make you cry, a BIG UGLY BLUBBERING CRY! The book will show you love at its best, and love at its worst. It will shake your faith and then give it back again.

Eddie and I spent the next week hiding in our house. Even though we were technically within the same four walls, we only saw one another in passing. He made the couch in the den his new best friend, and I repetitively took a ride on the tranquillizer train in the master suite.

This is a story about one mother's Unholy Hunger that led her on a trip to hell and back, where somewhere in between, she was given a gift that became her saving grace.

A mind in my state of emotional warfare liked to play a variety of freak show acts, but I knew that tug. I had felt it before. Twice actually. Once when I was a child and had almost slipped off a two hundred-foot cliff, the second when I was in law school and nearly plummeted down a metal staircase. In both instances, I was younger, innocent, and more acclimated to the saving graces of God. Thur, I walked away from those scares, both times having felt a tugging against my arm, both times feeling an ethereal hand holding and sparing me, believing an angel had saved me. In the latter occasion during law school, with my growing pessimism of the world around me pushing me toward the cusp of disbelief, I inspected my arm an hour after the almost fall. I found an oval bruise. A fingerprint impression came to mind, but since I was on the cusp of disbelief, it was inconvenient to assume anything other than the bruise had been there from before. Now, that same tightening was back, wrapped around my arm as I readied to leave my car. Then a voice came, a nudging really. 'No,' it said.

Heather James crafted an outstanding novel full of mystery and intrigue. The writing was superb and the best I've seen in a long while. The characters were well developed and the story line kept evolving with each page. There was no down time in the book, the emotions of the characters never took a break. As a child's life is taken, a mother's thirst for revenge was born, and we are left wondering at times, just who exactly is the monster, and how far are we willing to go to extract justice in an unjust society. At what point do we stop and realize that forgiveness may be our only true justice. I truly wish there were 10 stars available.

"There's no shortage of broken people who are open to habitation-so many empty vessels flashing their vacancy signs."

Additional quotes:

"I hadn't thought about losing my license to practice law. Contemplating quitting--and it was very high up on the to-do list--was one thing because it still gave me a comfortable amount of control over my life, but having the state intervene and tell me I wasn't good enough to practice law was another. It was all the same, I supposed. I wasn't a good enough mother because I entrusted my child into someone's incompetent hands. I wasn't a good enough wife because my husband continuously pulled himself away, and I wasn't even a good enough vigilante to realize you need to at least bring your own, registered, gun rather than steal your husband's. What difference did it make if now I wasn't good enough to practice law?"

"I knew the thought I was beginning to entertain was blasphemy. Blasphemy to both my daughter  and the dreams I concocted for her the moment I felt her flutter within my womb. Still, I had to wonder if she got the better end of the deal when I considered Paul. To have her life over was a tragedy. Every pore, follicle, and nerve ending on my body intimately realized that upon each sufferable day since her death. But then the alternative...To embrace the gift of breath, only to whither in the shadow of a devourer, was no way to live."

"You haven't changed at all." "Yes, I have." He straightened his tie, and then smiled at me. "See, a few months ago, if you had come in here and had this discussion with me, I would have been in a bad mood all day, and then carried it around with me at home. That's why my wife was enraged enough to stand over me while I slept. I wasn't being a very good husband. But now, I'm going to go home tonight a peaceful man, give her a kiss, tell her you came calling one week early, and that was nice to you." "You aren't  being nice," I said, leaning forward, challenging him. "Me not being nice and you not getting your way are two different things."  "Did you read that on your Fiber One box this morning?" I asked..."It's like my therapist said: I can't control the self-destructive habits of others."

Pete walked over to me, pursing his lips and looking like he considering something bothersome. Probably the very idea of talking to me induced the discomfort. I had that effect on people-more and more these days. He put his hands on his hips, lifting his jacket up as it flared out over both hands. "As much as it pains me to do so, I think I'm going to put you to some use. I'm hoping to take advantage of your abilities in reading and persuading people to do your bidding. And if you succeed, then I'll let you watch-from afar-my interrogation of Crafton. You'd like that, right?"

She folded her hands in her lap and pursed her lips, her jaw still moving, chomping those accursed gums of hers. "On second thought, she said, "I don't want to talk about it." "You better talk about it," Pete said. "Either we put you in general population where they'll see you as grandma jerky, or we put you in a retirement home with bars and guards. You decide."

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