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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Solomon's Tears by Courtnee Turner Hoyle is a haunted house mystery in the tradition of The Others. The story takes place in a house that Ketron Gouge and her husband Marvin bought for their growing family. They have been blessed with five children, and it is almost a perfect model of domestic bliss. Then Marvin develops a drinking problem, and Ketron is always cautious about making any remarks about Marvin's alcoholism in his presence. The new house isn’t helping as their children are aware of the untoward noises and other strange occurrences taking place and Ketron’s suspicion of the house being haunted intensifies. Ketron starts to lose her mind with the thought that one of her children is missing. The memory of her childhood and her mother’s descent into mental illness haunts her as well.
Solomon’s Tears is a story with a strong psychological bent. Courtnee Turner Hoyle is a paranormal writer to watch out for. She understands the dynamics of what truly makes a scary plot—she toys with your head. While she addresses sensitive themes like infant and childhood death, she doesn’t resort to cheap, clichéd devices like undulating staircases, bleeding walls, ghost-inhabited portraits, and creatures in the attic or basement. What she effectively does to make Solomon’s Tears an intelligent scare is the use of elements that upset the protagonist’s psychological faculties. One admires the way Hoyle is able to maintain tension and suspense by using the house as an extension and representation of Ketron’s troubled mind. It is a sound tradition of psychological horror that, sadly, you don’t find every day. This is truly a brilliant work of horror that you should not miss.