Continuing in the tradition of Wake-Robin Ridge and A Boy Named Rabbit, Marcia Meara’s North Carolina mountain series takes a shivery turn with the Appalachian Legend of Ol’ Shuck, the Harbinger of Death.
“. . . he felt the wet slide of the dog’s burning hot tongue on his face, and the scrape of its razor sharp teeth against the top of his head. A white-hot agony of crushing pain followed, as the jaws began to close.”
The wine-red trillium that carpets the forests of the North Carolina Mountains is considered a welcome harbinger of spring—but not all such omens are happy ones. An Appalachian legend claims the Black Dog, or Ol’ Shuck, as he’s often called, is a harbinger of death. If you see him, you or someone you know is going to die.
But what happens when Ol’ Shuck starts coming for you in your dreams? Nightmares of epic proportions haunt the deacon of the Light of Grace Baptist Church, and bring terror into the lives of everyone around him. Even MacKenzie Cole and his adopted son, Rabbit, find themselves pulled into danger.
When Sheriff Raleigh Wardell asks Mac and Rabbit to help him solve a twenty-year-old cold case, Rabbit’s visions of a little girl lost set them on a path that soon collides with that of a desperate man being slowly driven mad by guilt.
As Rabbit’s gift of the Sight grows ever more powerful, his commitment to those who seek justice grows as well, even when their pleas come from beyond the grave.
I’ve said it before, but I’d love to join this family. Although fictional, I guarantee they feel very real when you’re immersed in these books.
Rabbit captured my heart in the second book, and I adore him even more now. His interactions with his little sister are so sweet, and he’s a perfect big brother. One of my favorite parts of the story is when Rabbit is struck nearly speechless when meeting the sister of his best friend – and then tells his mother what he saw in his future. These lighthearted times are a balance to the bleaker parts of the story as Rabbit takes a lot on his young shoulders while using his gift to find the body of a girl murdered several years before. Although not even a teenager, he’s an old soul wise beyond his years and is very insightful when it comes to people and their actions. His adoptive parents, Mac and Sarah, are protective of him, but also understand how his gift can help people and are there with him every step of the way.
It’s no secret who the villain is. Cadey Hagan believes he’s remade himself (he’s still deplorable), and no one will ever discover what he did all those years ago. The author did an amazing job crafting his gradual mental deterioration, and by the end the reader may wonder if Ol’ Shuck is actually mythical.
I can’t recommend this supernatural suspense series enough. I’m excited to read the next book so I can spend more time with these lovely characters (my fictional family).