Saint Nellie (Kindle Edition) by Odal Madsen

Saint Nellie

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

As a fan of horror genre books, I must say that this is indeed one of the best I have read in a long time. In a market overflowing with horror novels, Saint Nellie makes a tour de force debut; it is a riveting story told with such literate dexterity that it truly makes an indelible impression on the reader’s psyche. This is a horror read that snatches you by your hackles and keeps you rapt in its horror- filled pages until the last bittersweet word.

Set in the small backwater town of Blackwell, Tennessee where a dark past of ages old evil, black magic, sinister human beings, and destroyed innocence lurks. The past and the present synchronize as the story’s heroine fifteen year old Mia, and her mother Caroline move to the town to take care of some family business. However, the townspeople, led by their mendacious town preacher, who regularly discharges sermons of hatred, distrust, and prejudice, do not tolerate Mia and her mother very well because Mia is Black and her mother is White. Life for the loving mother and daughter becomes very uncomfortable especially for poor Mia. Subjected to harassment and ridicule but still trying to fit in, they are forced by a deathbed promise and the preacher’s underhanded machinations to become acquainted with the town recluse (and one helluva witch), Ol’ One-Eyed Nellie. Initially, their ultimate goal was to get Nellie back to church; however, as circumstances become increasingly grim for them, their realized goal becomes one for their very own survival with Nellie as their only hope.

Although this is his debut novel, Author Odal Madsen writes like a seasoned horror aficionado knowing just what elements work to create the necessary intensity and suspense for this gripping work of horror fiction. This is a book driven, not just by the strong, well-conceived characters but also by the story; likewise, it is an exceedingly well told, vividly detailed and refreshingly intense tale, which jettisons the story into a one sitting read.

I absolutely enjoyed this original, delightfully dark, gritty, coarse, visceral, and downright twisted story and I cannot wait for this author’s next book. I highly recommend Saint Nellie; every adult horror fan should read this book as it is well worth it.

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