Cooper Shaw lives his life under a pen name and enjoys the anonymity it provides during his journeys across the globe as a seasoned writer for a travel magazine. When his job lands him in his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts to cover the famous Festival of the Dead, he soon realizes that he can’t stay invisible forever as he faces ghosts from a past he’s been trying to forget ever since he left.
The city holds nothing but bad memories for Coop until he meets a quirky young woman with an old soul and curious insights by the name of Finnley Pierce. While she acts as his tour guide through a town he thought he knew, Finn helps him unearth the truth of his childhood and might even begin to open up his heart.
By unraveling the mystery of his father’s murder, Coop may finally accept who he is, where he came from, and perhaps even realize what he wants for his future.
When I was a child I loved reading stories about journeys. In Lord of the Rings I was Frodo’s constant companion, and I clung onto Lucy Penvensie’s coat tails when she made her epic journey through Narnia in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Luckily for me, some things never change, and when I picked up Cursed be the Wicked by J. R. Richardson, I was delighted that it took me on such an enjoyable and exciting ride.
Ostensibly a paranormal romance, Cursed is the story of Cooper Shaw, a travel writer who floats from assignment to assignment. He seems to live an easy, yet solitary life, but all isn’t as it seems. In the first part of the story we learn that Coop escaped from his childhood home in Salem, Massachusetts under a dark cloud of suspicion. Let down by both his parents, he walked away and never looked back, severing any ties he might have had. When circumstances compel him to return to Salem, his plan is to stay for as short a time as possible, finishing up his article and cleaning up a personal issue at the same time.
But then he meets Finn. A quirky receptionist in the B&B he is staying in, she soon turns out to be more than she appears, and before he knows it, Coop has a companion to help him through his painful days in his childhood town. What follows is a journey into his past, where he has to reconcile his memories with the truth he’s now being told.
To classify this book as a simple love story would be doing it a disservice. In fact, it’s a tale of personal growth, of confronting demons, both perceived and real. It is a story of redemption and love. The characters are so beautifully drawn that by the end of the book I not only felt like I knew them, but wanted to stay with them, even as the story drew to an end. In addition to this, the story line was well plotted and gripping enough to keep me reading on my sofa on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Needless to say, I finished the book in less than a day.
Cursed be the Wicked deserves five beautifully written, well-plotted stars.