Medicine has no cure for evil
The Bone Curse by Carrie Rubin is scheduled for release on 27 March 2018 by Science Thriller Media. This review is based on an Advance Reader Copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley. There are no spoilers in this review.
Medical student Benjamin Oris has no time for the supernatural, even after a trip to the Paris catacombs leaves him with a minor injury following his unexplained desire to reach a particular set of bones. Back in the United States, logical and pragmatic to a fault, Ben refuses to consider anything but an explainable (if not yet identifiable) medical reason for the sudden illnesses experienced by several people close to him.
Ben’s good friend, Laurette, however, suspects something more at play. While a public health student herself, Laurette is Haitian and believes that “something more” is a Vodou curse.
Rubin takes Ben on a harrowing ride through the book. Just when he thinks nothing could get worse, it does. His life is complicated enough at the book’s opening as “just a med student.” But loved ones becoming dangerously ill, relationship surprises, an attack on his father’s business, and conflict with fellow students are soon added to the mix. Still, Laurette’s insistence that these events are related to the evil she senses around him falls on deaf ears and a closed mind. Ben comes to realize, however, that it doesn’t necessarily matter what he believes (or doesn’t). What does matter is saving the people around him, even if that means a journey into spiritual practices he doesn’t begin to understand and a showdown with someone with a dark agenda.
As an archaeologist (from a period when that meant taking many courses in cultural anthropology), I sometimes cringe when authors take on belief systems or cultural practices outside their experience. Rubin, however, handles the practice of Vodou with respect, resulting in a book that successfully combines science-based western medicine with the supernatural.
The action really takes off in the last half of the book, setting a pace that doesn’t let up for Ben or the reader. The story reaches a satisfying climax and sets the stage for future books while wrapping up this particular story line. Certainly Ben’s life will never be the same after this experience. Undoubtedly, Rubin already has another adventure in store for him, and I look forward to reading it.