The Strange Curse of Breda by Steven Arnett

The Strange Curse of Breda by Steven Arnett
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (215 pages)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

It’s 1971 and a horrible murder has occurred near the town of Breda in west Michigan. A young woman, Jane Lucas, has been dragged into the woods and stabbed. The letters ZOSO from the Led Zeppelin album have been written in blood on her waist, which leads the police to think it might be a cult murder. Suspicion falls on the commune located on a farm near the town. The shock and horror townspeople feel after that murder, though, are nothing compared to the shock and horror people feel when another murder and then another murder of the same type occur.

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The hanging of a man named Obadiah Kurtz that occurred in 1889…is a sentence that caught my “need to read” attention.

From the opening of the story, the reader knows about the curse cast on the town and people involved in the hanging of Obadiah Kurtz, so it’s no surprise when the curse goes into action. The reader knows it’s a descendent of the Kurtz family. But who? Will the police be able to catch the killer before anyone else in the town has to die? This is a interesting story but I think it could have been delivered a little better. There are moments we receive play by play details in some scenes but then not enough details where it was needed in some scenes. There was one killer but the author gave the appearance others were working with him.

There have been recent murders in the town. In such a small town the crowd of residents gather at the local neighborhood store to gossip and give their opinion on who is behind the murders. Store owner, Jim Leiden hears about the 1889 hanging of Obadiah Kurtz and thinks there could be something to the town’s legend. Jim starts his own investigation asking around town for descendents of Kurtz. The part that I find odd is that when Jim goes looking for family members of Kurtz. He meets Annie Kurtz Abilene and gets little information from her, but sits right in front of Roy Kurtz and when he finds out that Roy is a family member of Kurtz he doesn’t question him, he just leaves the bar in fear. Jim just didn’t seem to have the background or description of someone that would step so quickly into an investigative role to find a murder. He wasn’t described as the heroic type.

The book does contain coarse language. I did like the relationship between Jim and Julie and Julie’s love for her mother. I like that the author did give the murderer a voice in the story. It added some gruesomeness to the dialogue to give the good guy/bad guy balance versus just giving us the POV of Jim.

The ending was predictable and wrapped up very quickly. It took hours for Jim to drive from Florida back to Michigan but the catching of the killer was too brief and wrapped up very easily.  I appreciated the author tying up all the loose ends. I don’t want to stop a potential reader from giving the story the chance it deserves, as mine is only one opinion, and I would suggest to read because it does have a unique plot and the writing style is easy to follow.

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