This mesmerizing supernatural mystery teases readers with an eerie tale of a 59-year-old woman tasked with collecting evil souls for hell. Divided into three parts—“The Game,” “Destiny” and “Reality”—it delivers the first-person account of collector Icee Edmond, an unreliable narrator whose perception of reality is constantly in question.
Having grown up in a haunted house with a murderous stepfather and an inattentive mother, Icee now lives alone with her talking dog, Mason, after her husband inexplicably abandoned her. Her dead grandmother’s spirit informs Icee that she is destined to collect evil souls while evading Satan’s demons, who view her as competition, and Icee, a forensic accountant trained by “the Bureau” (which may or may not be the FBI), encounters plenty of evildoers through her job.
When Icee’s estranged husband dies overseas, she and Mason leave for the funeral. The trip doesn’t go as planned, however, and she winds up in a hospital teetering between life and death.
The fantastical plot prevents readers from knowing what will happen from page to page. Likewise, the first-person account blurs illusion and reality until it’s difficult to establish the truth, other than to acknowledge that this is Icee’s truth. The conclusion answers most questions, leaving just enough doubt to keep things interesting.
The title refers to the combination of life experiences that brought Icee to this juncture: “The equation of my life has led me to a place where there is no distraction from my own suffering, sorrow, fears, insecurities, and instability. This is what the Bible predicts of those who would be destined for hell, not greatness.”
Jacquel Clark playfully manipulates readers by misrepresenting facts and making occasional forays into gentle humor despite the depravity. Her concise writing exerts complete control over the storytelling, even as the character’s life rages out of control. In sum, this supernatural thriller offers a deliciously disturbing journey into one woman’s nightmarish existence, creating a riveting read, sure to satisfy.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.