Book Review: “Sinner – Santa Muerte Book One” by Carol James Marshall

Full disclosure, I was provided a copy of this book by the author, however, have voluntarily chosen to write a review. All opinions are my own

Sinner is scheduled for a May 31,2023 release

A bruja is born

Matea has always had a shadow hanging around her. From a very young age she has battled the snakes. Those mischievous serpents that only she sees and always comes at the wrong times to try to make her look crazy. As the child of a very devout woman, Matea has spent her younger years being carted between Mexicali, Mexico and Calexico, California. When her mother Amparo wasn’t attending mass, she was frequenting the neighborhood bruja La Doña Lupe for blessings and other items. Matea at least has a reprieve in her job at the fulfillment center where she works long hours with her best friends Gina and Brandon. And now that Abuela Oralia has come to live with her family she no longer must take the trips to Mexicali which gives her more time to spend with her friends.  If she could just do something about Esme, the snob – the one coworker she cannot stand – always in her face and hanging around Brandon. And it seems the feeling is mutual as the pair begin a volley of barbs and passive aggressive actions toward each other. It is only when Matea realizes that the serpents up to now only she has been able to see can be useful in her war with Esme, she slowly begins to embrace the darkness that has been growing inside her since birth. With bruja blood running in her veins and La Santa Muerte slowly gaining hold Matea launches an all-out war against her nemesis, but she is not unopposed. When the dust clears Matea may end up losing more than just eliminating her enemy.

Sinner is the first book in the upcoming La Santa Muerte series by author Carol James Marshall. Having been a long time reader of her work I was eager to dig into this new series. Historically, Marshall’s horror has been more fantastical involving aliens, superior races, cannibals and even mermaids and leprechauns but with the Santa Muerte series she has brought the topic more into the reality that many people embrace daily. Drawing on the lore of La Santa Muerte and the religious practices to which her devotees adhere, Marshall has created a story that was quite interesting. Definitely hard to read in parts, and possibly not for everyone as the occult is very prevalent, but for those who are not opposed to reading such topics, Sinner is a great read. The focus in the story is Matea, a young woman who has been promised to La Santa since birth as she comes into her powers and discovers what she is capable of. On the other side we have her ultra-religious mother who tries in vain to suppress the inevitable and her grandmother, a practicing bruja herself, who while not exactly encouraging Matea, is definitely nudging her into La Santa’s arms. The addition of Esme as Matea’s main antagonist really amps up the story in my opinion as the hatred between the two is palpable and their escalating landmines and tricks left for each other really kept me wondering how far they would take their feud. At the beginning of the book, Marshall did a good job at portraying Matea as someone who I felt sorry for, but as her back story was revealed and the drama with Esme unfolded I really started to begin to root for her and I was looking forward to what she was going to conjure up next.

With Sinner being the first in what is going to be a trilogy, I am looking forward to reading Vessel the continuation of Matea and Esme’s war which is currently scheduled for a summer release.

If you are a fan of occult horror, witches, and the chaos they can cause. Sinner could be just the creepy Springtime read for you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s