Monday, February 14, 2011

Review by

Tormenta (S. Bond Herndon)
A Review by Carla Ives (

Able Dawes needs a fix.  He needs it bad.  There’s a storm coming, a big one.  The fog is rolling in.  The winds are howling.  Able Dawes is in a fix, but he can’t see past the need of his addiction. . . yet.
I was provided with my copy of Tormenta by the author, S. Bond Herndon, and would like to express my sincere thanks to him for the opportunity to review it.

It’s September 2005 and Galveston Island is still reeling from the horror of what Hurricane Katrina inflicted on New Orleans only a month before.  Now Hurricane Rita is headed straight at them and it doesn’t take much of anyone’s imagination to know what’s coming. 

Able Dawes is beside himself.  A young junkie in desperate need, he ventures out into the storm thinking only of his next rush and how to get it.  He needs it.  His girlfriend needs it.  There’s a storm coming.  So what?  Storms have come and gone in his young life.  He’ll ride this one out, too.

Something’s different about tonight, though.   He feels it.  Every fiber of his being senses it.  He can’t explain it, so he just keeps walking.   There’s that horse-drawn wagon he’s never seen before.  He’s lived here all his life.  It’s a small place.  How did he miss it all these years?  And then there’s all those people  he doesn’t quite recognize asking, “You’re that Dawes kid, right?”  Running just under the radar for the mob all these years, he never knew he was all that visible.  And then there’s Spoons, an old bluesman, seemingly out of place and time on this night, who begins to spin a fascinating but macabre tale.    At first, Able listens politely.  It helps him keep his head on straight until he can hook up.  He listens to Spoons as the Dawes family springs vividly to life through the old man.   But Able’s adopted and he knows it.  What does he care what happened to the ancestors of his now last name?  

Able knows he’s in bad trouble, strung out like he’s never been strung out before.  He strikes out, once again, for the familiar house of his supplier.  Relief floods over him when he sees the familiar mailbox.  Or is it?  And still there is Spoons, telling more and more of the strange and frightening Dawes family history.  

Now Able’s really shook.  He can’t negotiate the storm.  He can’t get what he needs.  He can’t do much of anything except listen to Spoons.  And then Beau Dawes, his adoptive father and mentor, the only person to ever give a damn about him on this earth, albeit mean as a snake. . . is standing in front of him.  There’s just one small problem.  Beau’s been dead awhile.  

In Tormenta, S. Bond Herndon recreates the Victorian world of Galveston Island, Texas at the turn of the 20th century.   Skillfully meshing the old world with the new, he recounts one family’s history and its relation to the devastating flood of 1900, eerily weaving  it together with a warp thread of voodoo.  The characters are engaging.  It’s a fast-moving story and a fast read as the story inexorably draws you to its conclusion, much as the characters are drawn to the seawall by the flood waters.  The language is appropriate but rough at times.  However, if you like your history blended with horror, Tormenta  is the perfect read for you.


S. Bond Herndon said...

Much thanks to Carla Ives of for her review. Be sure to check out her site if you need a keen eye with attention to details that often elude us when we write.


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