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Book one of The Patience of a Dead Man series was the story of Tim Russel, who after weathering a particularly messy divorce that resulted in financial and emotional ruin, is determined to wrestle back some semblance of normality. In an effort to restart his finances, he risks the last of his capital on an investment property in New Hampshire. Initially, it seems this bold venture is turning the tides of Tim’s previous misfortune as the house is certain to deliver a substantial fiscal return, and more importantly for Tim, love begins to blossom with real estate agent Holly. It’s a welcome, timely adjustment for him but ultimately, short lived.

Frightening and disturbing phenomena begin to occur almost immediately as It seems a frightful entity (Mildred Wells) haunts the property with the intent of terrorising the couple. With their lives and love at stake, the pair clash desperately with the supernatural powers of Mildred, eventually claiming triumph by ritualistically destroying sacred remains buried beneath the very ground they’re treading. After enduring a prolonged campaign of terror at the hands of this other-worldy horror, the nightmare was finally over. Or so they thought…

It seems as though Tim’s luck has finally changed, as not only does he find the perfect house to flip, but he finds love too in the form of Holly the property realtor. Holly is a realtor for the area and, after finalizing the deal on the house, Tim and her kindle a new relationship. That is until some frightening and disturbing things begin to occur at the new house. 

Now, Tim is going to have to find a way to deal with the entity that haunts the property called Mildred Wells. With everything on the line, Tim manages to thwart the thing that threatens his newfound happiness by desecrating graves found on the property and destroying the bones found within them. Or so he thinks…

In an effort to restart his finances, he goes all-in on an investment property in New Hampshire. It seems as though Tim’s luck has finally changed, as not only does he find the perfect house to flip, but he finds love too in the form of Holly the property realtor. Holly is a realtor for the area and, after finalizing the deal on the house, Tim and her kindle a new relationship. That is until some frightening and disturbing things begin to occur at the new house. Now, Tim is going to have to find a way to deal with the entity that haunts the property called Mildred Wells. With everything on the line, Tim manages to thwart the thing that threatens his newfound happiness by desecrating graves found on the property and destroying the bones found within them. Or so he thinks…

The story continues in book two, Dead Woman Scorned. Here, Clark re-acquaints readers with the ghoulish creatures known as Revenants. These rotting, cadaverous husks are akin to the living dead, and walk the earth practicing the dark arts in search of the power to prevent the inevitable decay of their immortal bodies. Surprisingly, Mildred Wells makes a return, this time to exact revenge on their leader, Gideon Walker, for terrible actions in a past life. After dissecting and diminishing the clan one-by-one, Mildred procures the sacred text: The Book of Shadows, a recorded history of the Revenants’ magic practices. With this powerful tome, she can finally direct her fury towards Tim and Holly so that she might have the vengeance she so desperately desires. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Mildred Wells is a menacing nightmare in book one, but here she evolves into an even stronger supernatural powerhouse, and neither Tim nor Holly seem to stand a chance. Admittedly, when I started reading the novel, I was worried about its direction. Mildred becomes more of a hunter-killer than the haunting figure implied in the previous book, able to instantaneously call upon magical weapons and has a strength that – seemingly- cannot be matched. Michael Clark introduces us to a vastly different Mildred, but after accepting the adjustment, I found that it made for a much more terrifying tale.

Clark invests significant time exploring the occult and the Revenant clan, which is instrumental in constructing some of the more tense and anxiety-driven sequences, but much of the novel explores the tragic history of Mildred Wells beyond what was revealed in book one. Interestingly, readers are bound to feel empathetic since -unlike her behaviour in the first book suggests- Mildred is not evil incarnate, she’s a product of circumstance, and a survivor of an unforgiving life. 

Michael Clark competently – and with precision- executes a surprising, but remarkable shift in focus from Tim and Holly to Mildred, which made for a very compelling read. Delving deeper into the ever maddening mind of Mildred Wells was consistently engaging, and I can’t recall a single chapter where I wasn’t completely enveloped in this haunting revenge tale. I have a sneaking suspicion that there’s going to be an even more compassionate attitude built toward Mildred in the next volume, and our certainty of the true antagonist will continue to be exposed to scrutiny.

So far, The Patience of a Dead Man books have been terror-inducing, relentlessly suspenseful reads that chilled me to my core. I relished book one, but book two exceeded my expectations. Michael Clark knows how to pen a cast of lovable characters -even the antagonist is someone you anticipate with horrifying delight and nervous terror. Dead Woman Scorned takes the reader on a grim journey that shines a spotlight on those who practise the dark arts. Readers are certain to follow Mildred in anxious dread as she navigates through the afterlife in search of relief for a hatred gestating through the ages.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dead Woman Scorned: The Patience of a Dead Man Book Two by Michael Clark is available now from Amazon.

REVIEWER

Andrew ‘The Book Dad‘ and I am a reviewer of horror fiction. It is my intent to support those in the #HorrorCommunity any way I can while on my literary journey to reading all things terrifying and suspenseful! Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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