Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.

Ebook Details
  • 05/2022
  • 396 pages
  • $9.99
Manuel Rose
Manuel Rose, author
On the evening of an impending winter storm, in the quaint suburban town of Merryville, New York in February 1969, fifteen-year-old Avalina Bishop becomes the victim of a cruel and heinous crime committed by her best friend and four other classmates for being an alleged witch. What they don’t know is that Avalina was given a special gift from her grandmother, who is a true witch from Salem, Massachusetts, enabling Avalina to walk the Earth once more. Over fifty years later, Avalina’s soul is reawakened, but darkened by pure rage and an insatiable desire to smite all those who have wronged her. She embarks on a quest for revenge and begins possessing the bodies of young mortal women in an effort to carry out her own evil deeds. However, Avalina’s plans frequently get derailed as she struggles to navigate a strange, new, digital-driven world amidst a deadly pandemic; and ultimately, experiences sudden, first-time love and the belief in another chance at true happiness. However, Avalina discovers that the man she falls in love with has a ghastly secret of his own that could very well lead to her own demise, for their destinies are intertwined in far more ways than either of them could have ever imagined. Find out what happens in this new, mystical thriller by Manuel Rose.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 5 out of 10
Prose: 6 out of 10
Character/Execution: 5 out of 10
Overall: 5.75 out of 10


Plot/Idea: Rose's Avalina is a story of a young woman seeking revenge, only to have her plans thwarted by love. Not quite a romance, the story blends mysticism into a modern-day thriller that keeps readers intrigued from the beginning to the end.

Prose: Rose writes in a straightforward manner that keeps the story moving forward quickly. While a bit more attention to detail would add a bit more texture to the story, he is able to still narrate well each sequence of events.

Originality: If I Know What You Did Last Summer, Pretty Little Liars, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch were placed in a blender, the result would resemble Manuel Rose's Avalina. The main original element that deviates from these possible inspirations is using the COVID pandemic as a present-day timeframe.

Character Development/Execution: While the overall story flows well, more attention could be given to the description of supporting characters. Characters often come off as stereotypical in their roles, requiring more complexity and depth.

Date Submitted: August 19, 2022

Rose (Death on the Railway) offers a proudly provocative thriller of the dark arts complete with witchcraft, revenge, the irresistible setting of Salem, Massachusetts, and a crafted-to-shock eroticism. Avalina Bishop is a fifteen-year-old young woman whose grandmother is a witch. With rumors that Avalina also possesses skills as a mistress of the dark arts, a group of teenagers decide to burn down her house—with Avalina inside. Before Avalina perishes, she calls upon the “Prince of Darkness” to spare her soul so she can reincarnate at a later time and seek revenge on her murderers. Her soul becomes entrapped in a necklace that passes from character to character, while Avalina works to possess her hosts’ bodies and complete her mission.

Avalina’s gruesome murder of course elicits reader sympathy, though her lack of self-reflection, empathy, and personal growth makes it challenging to connect with her. The opening chapter includes a graphic masturbation scene, featuring the fifteen-year-old hero, that seems to dare readers to set the book aside. Elsewhere, Rose reduces women to their “pretty” features and “fairly large and shapely breasts,” their characters often either sex objects or victims of sexual assault. Avalina, meanwhile, lacks empathy for the women she imprisons while possessing their bodies and plays a hand in their oppression. In her quest for revenge, Avalina possesses the body of Joan, a 21-year-old woman, proceeding to have sex with Joan’s boyfriend despite Joan’s internal protests, and crudely dismisses Joan’s worries about pregnancy.

Simply put, the material is dark, perhaps pointedly so, as Rose favors shock and outrage over the development of tension. The storyline offers as many twists as it does reasons for sensitive readers to balk. Some welcome human warmth enters the tale in the form of Avalina’s mother, who does everything in her power to serve as the voice of reason.

Takeaway: A pointedly dark witchcraft thriller in which a young woman invokes the dark arts to seek revenge.

Great for fans of:Richard Laymon, Russ Martin.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B-
Marketing copy: A

Ebook Details
  • 05/2022
  • 396 pages
  • $9.99