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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
"Newman, Connecticut is a quaint suburban neighborhood of beautiful colonial homes, upper-middle-class families, and a school district recognized for academic and athletic achievements. Yet something sinister transpired in a house located on Cottage Drive. The community was shocked to learn an alleged exorcism had occurred, resulting in the death of a teenage boy.” In Condemned by Christopher Renna, Jared Smith was a friendly, popular kid but drastically changed after the summer break. He was moody and withdrawn and got into trouble before he was expelled from school for breaking a teacher's thumb. A month later, he was dead. Conner, Trevor, and Adam were Jared's closest friends and they can't rest easy until they find out the truth; what really happened to him?
Condemned has a quite number of characters, a mix of protagonists, and a supporting cast which I found well-developed in their roles. The relationships between Conner, Trevor, and Adam, including their family and main circle of friends, provide a grounded reality that balances out the supernatural animosity that clouds Jared's death. The teens' normal lives of dealing with parents' expectations, school, and college prospect inject levity into an otherwise dark story. Mystery, faith, friendship, and self-discovery are prominent themes in the plot development. The horror element is steadily introduced in a way that builds suspense until it's revealed in a gratifying event filled with determination and retribution. This is an entertaining supernatural tale from Christopher Renna that pays tribute to classic horror such as The Exorcist in its own way.