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Review: Descent by Sandy DeLuca

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Review by Shellie for Descent by Sandy DeLuca

Shellie’s quick take:   A slowly intensifying and terrifying page turner that details a woman’s descent into abuse, addiction, and hell and/or insanity. It’s not a novel for the faint-of-heart.

Shellie’s description:   The story alternates between two different times in the main character’s life, the past (occurring during the 1970’s) and the present. The main character, Julia, is a creative personality, an artist who paints pictures and cares for her ailing mother at the family home. She also has a terrible past and secrets that come to light as the story of her youthful life unfolds.

As a young girl she didn’t have the emotional support of her parents who dismissed her art, asserting that her life should be one of traditional domesticity. In fact her mother, the only surviving family member, is still verbally abusive. This created a background which led her to choose the wrong man – a deranged psychopath. As the story moves along her secrets and the reasons for succumbing to the lure of mind-numbing substances and horrible men become clearer. 

With themes of demons, angels and the beings that exist in between the realms of good and evil, Julia finds power, retribution, and some kind of peace in spite of her descent.

Shellie’s thoughts:    This is a wonderful and horrifying novel. It has a writing style that is easy to read and follow, the author moving back and forth between the past and present as the main character’s terrible story is told. With no issues in the pacing or editing to mar the reading experience, it’s a seamless read.

Additionally, what Sandy DeLuca does is to lead the reader into the darkness slowly, increasing the tension so that the book becomes difficult to put down. It’s hard to turn away as the plot slowly crashes to its climax – and just like a gawker at a crime scene or auto accident, the reader is left wanting to see what’s happening even though we know it’s not going to be pleasant.

I would recommend Descent especially to women who love horror or crime fiction since it involves issues that are important to and about women, but I’d also recommend it to anyone who loves literary horror, since they too will enjoy the book. A word of caution though – this book is extremely dark, has strong language, and is at times violent. It’s NOT for persons of sensitive or delicate sensibilities. But since I love tastefully dark, visceral and shocking reads it’s a 4 star in my opinion.

Paperback | 308 pages | June 13, 2011 |Uninvited Books | (first published January 1st 2005)

For more information about Sandy DeLuca, her artwork, and writing link to her website:

An eclectic blog with an affinity for the speculative.

*Republished under a Creative Commons Attribution3.0 United States License (

Layers of Thought (Shellie) / CC BY 3.0



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