A small bite of what I hope will be a bigger series, DREADFUL BEGINNINGS is an urban fantasy novella with a very young adult feel to it. The main character, Penny, just graduated high school and is having a heck of a time finding and keeping a job. She likes hanging out in cemeteries, drinking cappuccino at the mall, and basically being a slack teenager. Telemarketing? Working in real estate with her mother? Not so much.
The author did a great job capturing the "voice" of a teenage girl without making her irritating or whiny. My hat is off to Mr. Shaw for pulling that off.
When Penny and her friends accidentally set a demon free while casting a spell which is supposed to bring them luck, wackiness ensues. The demon is pretty freaky, and I had a momentary flashback to one of the R.L. Stine Fear Street novels
when the demon trapped Penny in the shower.
The story is fast-paced, the Big Bad is suitably evil, and the Doc remains a mystery. If you're looking for a shorter, self-contained urban fantasy story with a young adult feel, this is a good one, though I didn't find myself emotionally involved during certain scenes. Penny's reaction to the death of her best friend did feel a bit glossed over, and the talk with her mom at the end didn't move me at all, but it still packs a punch considering the length of the story.
In short, this was a tasty treat and I do want more. Hopefully the next installment will be a full length novel!