The Promise Keeper

Cedar Grove. May 2021. 208p. ISBN 9781941958889. pap. $19.95. HORROR
They call it the Death House. For the women awaiting execution at Raskin Correctional, it’s the last place they’ll ever know. This is where Lucky meets Angie, and the two forge a friendship through the walls of their cells. But Angie is no regular inmate. She is an asiman, a vampire-like creature in West African folklore originating from the area now known as Benin, and she’s lived many lives before coming to the Death House. Before she’s executed, Angie begs Lucky to become an asiman herself, return to the world, and protect Angie’s son from the creature that turned her—the Promise Keeper. This lush horror story, originally published in 2012, crosses continents and spans decades, with all the sex and bloodletting of the best vampire tales. But Wood (The Young Madonna) goes deeper, using vampire lore to paint a moving portrait of two women forced to make impossible choices in an unforgiving world where the evil lies in both monster and man.
VERDICT Vampire fans will get their fill here, as will horror readers thirsty for a fresh, unexpected take on one of the genre’s oldest mythologies.
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