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Cover Copyright ©2004
Trace Edward Zaber
by Macey Baggett Wuesthoff
ISBN: 1-59279-120-4 (Electronic)
ISBN: 1-59279-835-7 (Paperback)
In a small southern town called Grimshaw, fourteen-year-old Angel Fallow lives in misery. Her Bible-quoting stepfather beats her if she dares break his fanatical rules. Her mother is cold and distant. Angel's only outlet is trips to the woods for secret, forbidden meetings with classmate Peter St. Thomas, her best and only friend.
Angel has always believed that her natural father died right after her birth. So when she learns he actually disappeared and was presumed dead, she's instilled with hopes of finding him and a chance at a normal life. When Angel and Peter begin searching for Angel's father, they discover two forces more powerful than any they ever imagined possible—the light of a beautiful first love, and the darkness that has caused so many of Grimshaw's children to suddenly die or disappear. As their relationship deepens, they unearth evidence of a local Satanist cult, its sacrifices of innocent children, and its horrifying connection to Angel's father. That same cult conducts its gruesome rituals with children who fit their physical profile, within the same woods where they meet. And they realize their discovery could cost them everything—including their lives...
Length: Extended Novel (131k words / 366 paperback pages)
~ Purchase ~
Read what the reviewers are saying...
"I literally finished the book in two days. Like a puppet master, Ms. Wuesthoff kept me turning those pages and played with my mind as I was filled with a whirlpool of unsettling emotions—hopelessness, fear, outrage, sadness, and above all, terror. Oozing with suspense, this is a powerful and horrifying story that will linger in my thoughts and disturb my dreams for months to come. Indeed, Ms. Wuesthoff will likely become a name to be reckoned with in the horror genre."—Mayra Calvani, Ebook Reviews Weekly
"Ms. Wuesthoff's debut novel brings a fresh new voice to the horror genre. She has a pitch-perfect ear for dialogue and sees inside the psyche of the young adult. This is a chilling tale in which good does not always win, but there is still a spiritual element that gives hope. This story is essential for our times, when too many people seem to be making 'deals with the devil' with disastrous results that effect many innocents. A sequel is planned, and I will be looking forward to this and other future books by this talented new writer."—Roberta Austen, Murder and Mayhem Book Club
"This book is amazing! The suspense was gripping, and the story itself was spine tingling. It was so believable, I literally got chills! Not to mention an explosive ending that will leave you gasping, wishing it was not over. I will most definitely be watching for more from this author. This book comes highly recommended."—Shelina Emery, MyShelf.com
"Murder, secrets, and a town that sold its soul combine in author Macey Wuesthoff’s newest novel Sacrifice. Not a big fan of the horror genre, I found myself unable to stop reading. I had to know what happened. Had to know who was behind the cult, had to know if Angel and Peter would be saved. Ms. Wuesthoff takes vivid, well-fleshed-out characters, adds a fast-paced, tightly woven plot and gives readers a spectacular ride. One that forces them to think, sends shivers up their spine, and makes them bite their nails in worry. Sacrifice is an amazing novel by a very talented author. Very highly recommended.—Sharyn McGinty, In the Library Reviews
"...A good story. Author Macey Baggett Wuesthoff has a handle on her characters. Angel is particularly well-drawn, a protagonist worth caring about. The tale’s suspense hinges on an outcome that is truly in doubt, a departure from the pattern of most horror novels. I enjoyed the read."—Brian Kaufman, Round Table Reviews
"5 Unicorns!...It will, no doubt, give the reader a deep shiver and scare to find evil lurking in this small town. Wuesthoff survives the test of time, and [shows] the distinguishing mark of a true artist, in that Sacrifice retains its gothic/horror from its first chapter. This classic tale of good vs. evil is a sheer delight if for no other reason than to get really spooked. It's a great read on a cold, rainy night; the atmosphere will heighten the pleasure. On a steamy summer night, it forces the reader to close the windows and lock the doors. Whatever the season, Sacrifice amplifies every otherwise unnoticed slight creak in the cluster of trees outside and the silenced whispers in a mild breeze. And, as Wuesthoff forces [this tension] in virtually every chapter, her reader at some point has to set the book down and come up for air--and a safety check! Ms. Wuesthoff's first novel brings a creative and innovative voice to the horror genre. She writes intriguing dialogue, and gripping scenes, and prevailing within this disturbing story, there is a deep, spiritual sense that gives the reader some optimism and faith. Filled with suspense, intrigue, creeping terror, and a dash of the macabre, this is a compelling and shocking story that you will not be able to put down. This is a slick, fast-paced suspenseful story with deftly drawn characters that must face the demons in their own lives to conquer that which claims the children of Grimshaw’s souls. The suspense and romance is riveting, and the storytelling is chilling. Not to mention a heart-stopping ending that will leave you breathless. This book comes highly recommended. I have only one last thing to say to Ms. Baggett-Wuesthoff: 'BRILLIANT! Look out Stephen King, there’s a new horror writer on the block!"—Sherry Hall Mauro, Enchanted in Romance
"It's horror; it's suspense; it's a page-turner worthy of Stephen King."—Michelle Rupe Eubanks, Times Daily
Read a short excerpt...
…Feeling confused, threatened, and in general, upset all over again, Angel began to run toward home, a fresh geyser of tears erupting down her face.
When the house came into view, she spotted Grandma rocking in a chair on the front porch. As sick as Grandma had been, Angel had expected her to be in bed. Certainly, she hadn't anticipated having to face her before she even got in the house. If she didn't get real cool real quick, she knew Grandma would pick up on something being wrong. Slowing to a walk, she sniffled, took a few deep breaths, and rubbed her hands across her cheeks to wipe away her tears.
"You're back early today, child."
Angel nodded and climbed the steps.
Grandma caught sight of her face. "And you're awfully flushed."
"It's just from running home to try to get out of the rain."
"Then why the dreary face?" Grandma leaned forward. "You're upset over what was in that box, aren't you?"
"No, Grandma. Peter forgot to bring my father's stuff, is all. And he's in trouble with his folks, so he had to go home early and can't come back today." It was a partial truth, anyway.
Grandma raised a wary eyebrow. "You're sure he really forgot and can't come back? Or do you think maybe he left everything at home deliberately? To try to do what's best for you and protect you, like I am?"
The same idea had crossed Angel's mind. But she was too upset and exhausted to think about that anymore, much less discuss it. In fact, she wanted nothing more than to peel off her wet clothes, soak in a bath, and cry. Shrugging, she placed her hand on the doorknob.
Grandma sighed. "I suppose it doesn't matter much one way or the other. Least it won't if I decide to come forward with what I know. That's what I'm thinking about doing."
Angel whirled around. "You mean you're going to tell me what's in that box? What you've been hiding?"
"I'm not sure I'm going to tell you directly. It's something that would be very hard for me to say to you. What I mean is I am thinking of going to others, others who can do something about it. It'll cost me everything. But I'm an old woman. I don't have much longer to live now. At least I can die knowing I tried to do the right thing. Besides, maybe it could actually help you somehow, too."
That statement made Angel believe more than ever that her father was still alive. She decided to try one further plea. "You know, Grandma, by this time tomorrow, I will have found out the truth from Peter—at least most of it. So why don't you go ahead and tell me what you know and how it could help me?"
"No more questions, child. I'm just thinking about this. I haven't decided for sure."
During the conversation, Angel's eyes fell upon the grove of trees across the road. That's when she spotted something black among the leafy green foliage. The top of it narrowed into a point, like the top of a hood. Then it moved. A person.
She pointed across the road. "Grandma, look!"
"Don't you see…?" The shape had disappeared.
"See what, Angel?"
"Someone was out there, Grandma." Her voice trembled. "I think they were watching us..."
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