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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In Tallow by MJ Howson, Marc cannot wait to show friends Tom and Julie his new condo on Cape Cod and, hopefully, rebuild his rocky relationship with girlfriend Chris. As they arrive at Cape Cod for Christmas, they discover that a blizzard is forecast later that day, but undeterred the friends decide to go Christmas shopping. They come across a quaint gift shop selling candles, a perfect gift for Tom's mother. The uptight owner is angered and promises retribution when a prank in the shop goes dreadfully wrong and damages the strange hand-made candles. They exit the store quickly, leaving behind Tom's backpack. When Marc and Chris decide to return later that day for the backpack, what awaits them is far more gruesome than anything in Julie's book of urban legends. As the realization of the nightmare becomes clear, they turn to the police for help, only to discover the candles hold the key to something truly sinister.
Tallow by MJ Howson is a truly captivating story which builds momentum and intrigue, unraveling a little more information with each page. The relationships and dynamics between the characters are realistic and interesting. The author truly knows how to build suspense and draw the reader into the world of the characters. I was trying to figure out why the store owner was acting so strangely, but never would I have guessed what transpired. The story is really hard to put down because the action and suspense are continuous, with great conflict and plot twists to keep you engaged. I couldn't help but compare the style of narrative and plot to the great Roald Dahl, and the ending left you certainly wanting more from the characters. If you love a great mystery around the subject of myth and legend then you will certainly enjoy this.