A book review by Brandi Guarino
Lorelai Palumbo is having a bad week. To start, her migraines are off the charts, causing her to be short and snippy with strangers, her boss is on her case about her treatment methods for her physical therapy clients, and a crazy lady with frightening eyes accosts her in the grocery store and says, “Confess and atone—or suffer.” If that were not enough to shake her up, a few minutes after the grocery store encounter, she is nearly killed by a driver who loses control of his car in the parking lot. But when she sees the bizarre lady with the frightening eyes lurking nearby and watching her, mouthing “confess and atone— or suffer,” she realizes this accident is no coincidence.
Lori arrives home after the incident at the grocery store shaken and on edge. Her roommate/ex-boyfriend is out for the evening, and her current boyfriend is working late, leaving her nothing more to do than go to bed. Not long after falling asleep, Lori is plagued by what she believes to be a nightmare from a memory of a life-changing injury she incurred as a teenager, to being in the car of an eyeless man who is driving her along a dark path called The Nightway to the Vermilion Tower, where unthinkable pain awaits.
When she awakens, Lori finds that her nightmare is just beginning. Being hunted by beings known as Shadowkins sent from The Vermilion Tower, every facet of Lori’s life is falling apart-her health is deteriorating, her relationships are faltering, her work is suffering, the world around her is being destroyed, her family is changed forever, and her nightmares are pulling her out of real life and depositing her in The Vermilion Tower where she is being tortured by the Cabal. If Lori wants all the torture to stop and for her sense of normalcy to return, she must figure out the sin for which she needs to confess and atone for before it is too late.
I greatly enjoyed Your Turn to Suffer. I have read Tim Waggoner’s work before, but only in novella form, so getting to read a longer piece of fiction written by him is a treat. I love the multi-layered world he built in the novel, using both Lori’s real-life world and The Nightway to great effect in propelling the story and creating characters in both realms that you grow to care about. You will feel empathy for Lori, you will want her to remember the grave injustice she committed just so she gets her life back to normal, you will feel her need to protect her family and friends, and you will feel her fear when the Cabal tortures her. There are some graphic, disturbing events in this story that will be difficult for some readers. It is a gory, wild, and unpredictable ride from beginning to end. Speaking from personal experience, some are pure nightmare fuel that you will not soon forget. I know that I have not forgotten yet and have been checking pinky nails for red nail polish every since I finished the book.
Your Turn to Suffer will make you consider the power of your words, and to think of the consequences of your actions in your everyday life. It will make you consider how you interact with others, question the choices you make, and ponder whether the mistakes you make will have ripple effects on the world.