There are two things that really drew me to Charla by Alex Beresford. The first item was a warning in the beginning of the book that said you shouldn’t read the demonic summoning at the end of chapter two. Because if you do an unwanted demon will come into your life. The second item was the first line of the story which was: “She always hated her daughter.” That got my attention right away how can a mother hate her daughter. Well Charla hates her daughter Amelie and has since day one. Amelie is now an adult and Charla has decided that its time for her to destroy Amelie once and for all. She does this by summoning a demon to ruin Amelie’s life.
Things start off slowly, the demon starts doing things like making noises, showing small glimpses of itself and then he causes Amilee to hurt herself. Little by little Amilee starts to lose her mind and then things get even worse. Amilee has no idea that her mother is the cause of all her problems or that her mother hates her, she gets some help from a friend but it may not be enough to stop the demon or her mother.
Charla is one disturbing read. It starts as psychological horror and then turns into a hard-core horror fest. This novel is excellent but it’s not for everyone. If you like romance don’t look here, if you like comedy, don’t bother, if you like sunshine and happiness forget about it. If you want a well written novel with fascinating characters and great pacing that keeps you on the edge of your seat, then Charla is for you.
I loved how the action builds slowly throughout the book and the atmosphere was creepy. There is one scene I enjoyed where Amilee and a friend uses a Ouiji board on a stormy night that was subtle but scary. You knew something was going to happen but instead of the author delivering a big scare he hints at things to come by having a spirit communicating with them and then showing a glimpse of something which makes Aimilee question her sanity. I felt the scariest part of the book was how Aimillee starts questioning everything she believes. There is nothing scarier then doubting your sanity and Charla really showcases that fear. I think even if you took the demon out of this book, it still would have been a great psychological horror story.
Another thing I loved about this book was the depth behind the characters. You kind of want to feel sorry for Charla after you hear her life’s story but then you see what she does to her daughter and you can’t. You also see Charla react to her husband wanting to divorce her and you can relate to her, but at the same time her attitude about how life has wronged her and how she reacts makes you hate her. Then there is Amilee who on the surface seems to have everything going for her, but then you see how insecure she is and you see how wrong her mother’s perceptions of her daughter is and you feel sorry for her.
If you read Charla your still going to be thinking about it long after your done with it. I think it’s a powerful novel that takes your worst fears and brings them to life. If I had a list of favorite horror novels Charla would have to go on it, but its not for the faint of heart.