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A Curse That Bites Deep (Traces of Treasure) (Volume 2) Paperback – October 3, 2016
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"Thomas Fenske knows how to give a homey personality to his tales. Like sitting around a big potbelly stove at the General Store ..." tometender.blogspot.com book blog
"Wow, what an exciting book. Being a longtime Texas resident, Iloved the locations in the book. Once I started reading, I couldn't putit down. I actually read the book in one sitting. Definitely waiting for the next book." -- Anonymous Internet Comment
From the Author
Note: although this book is a sequel, I took great care in crafting it to stand on its own. It is helpful to have read the first book but I think there is plenty of information to allow readers to enjoy this book all by itself.Warning: reading this book first will make you want to read The Fever.
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I loved in The Fever how the characters and story were so real. That same authenticity carries through in A Curse That Bites Deep. The story is rounded out and made believable by the nuances of the characters, and the author presents so much life wisdom through them. In once scene, for instance, Sam reflects on his life as he washes dishes at The Mossback, noting that “his life was a tradeoff” in which he balanced pursuing the mine and his relationship with Smidgeon (15). Isn’t life full of tradeoffs for all of us? Life requires constant assessment and reassessment of priorities and how well our actions align with those priorities. Sometimes we do well, and sometimes we don’t. Sam experiences this same reality throughout the book.
Another “real” moment that I love, probably because I’m Catholic, is Fenske’s portrayal of Smidgeon’s relationship with the Catholic faith she was brought up in. Through Smidgeon and her respect for the Church and its sacraments, Fenske very powerfully conveys the loving reality the Church teaches. Due to life choices at odds with Church teaching, Smidgeon is unable to participate in the sacraments, particularly the reception of Holy Communion. She tells Sam, “I can’t fully participate but…well, you know, it doesn’t mean I can’t be a part of the church family” (45). This is so beautiful and powerful – it speaks a truth that is often misunderstood by those inside and outside the Church, and it felt nice to read it so simply put in an otherwise-nonreligious book.
So these are the kind of things I enjoyed in the “slower” part of the book.
And THEN. Oh my. The action starts! I don’t want to give away too much of the story, so I won’t get into details. I will say this, though – I was surprised a LOT, which was fun. I mean, I knew there had to be bad stuff going on — it’s about a curse, after all — but there was so much I didn’t see coming and I really enjoyed that. I’d have these moments of shock and just have to keep reading. Accidental deaths, murders, arson, ghosts! All revolving around a gold mine in west Texas, of course. I figured out the identity of the villain well in advance of when it was definitively revealed, but even that didn’t keep me from being surprised by the action.
All-in-all, it was a fun read – surprising and compelling and yet also reflective of so many realities.
Sam moved out west because of two loves. His first love being that gold mine, and the other the love of a local woman. Sam has been working hard on the mines for a long time. It seemed things were really in his favor until an old friend passed away. Death is something no one is ready for, especially a best friend. His friend was on his way to visit him when he was killed by a drunk trucker. Shortly after that, others started dying too. Only these deaths were no accident. Everyone Sam loved was being taken from him, but could not figure out why.
Hopefully, you have the read the first book. The second book is full of adventure and surprises, and just a hint of true love. Again, I promise you will not be disappointed. I thought the book was great. I am not a fan of Westerns, and even I liked the book, a lot!
The book was full of moments where I laughed, and a few where I teared up a bit. The book also brought back a bunch of characters from the first book, and introduced a few more.
Thomas Fenske kept me interested throughout the book, continually looking forward to the next act, scene or even page. This began when the book did. It takes some skill to hook a reader straight-away and I'm not the easiest reader to take the bait! It just the same with horror films; I've never found one that frightens me.
So much is going on this novel, it was hard to even consider putting it away but I had to. Although I picked it up again as soon as I was able, of course.
Communication between the characters is prolific, thus making sure that you as a reader are keeping up with the action. Descriptions of the scenes and background history are necessary but I much prefer to discover it through the words of the protagonist. It's a great way to truly bring a novel alive.
I would definitely recommend this book but I do think it's a good idea to read the first book in the series beforehand. This isn't because it's hard to understand what exactly is going on in A Curse That Bites Deep; it isn't. It's more due to the fact that I really feel that you could be missing out on another great read from Thomas Fenske.