cover image The Bone Curse

The Bone Curse

Carrie Rubin. Science Thrillers Media, $13.99 trade paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-940419-98-5

In the arresting opening of this horror-tinged mystery from Rubin (The Seneca Scourge), American medical student Ben Oris visits the Paris Catacombs with his best friend Laurette, a med student from Haiti. After Ben is cut by a bone in the catacombs, bad luck follows him back home to Philadelphia. People in Ben’s life, including an ex-girlfriend and his estranged mother, develop a violent and possibly fatal illness. Laurette, whose family is practiced in the traditions of Haitian Vodou, warns Ben that she suspects the bone contained a centuries-old curse. Practical, logical Ben resists the idea that a powerful supernatural force is behind the illnesses. Realistic details of Ben’s hospital clerkship as he and other med students diagnose patients help ground the story’s paranormal elements. Laurette’s belief in unknown forces at work in the world serves as a foil to Ben’s pragmatic skepticism, though her character is less developed than his and not much is made of the Vodou angle. The novel’s strength lies in the author’s sensitive commentary on adult responsibilities and mental illness. (BookLife)