On Trial: Echos of an Outlaw’s Curse by J.F. Spieles

Posted March 23, 2015 by Virginia in Reviews / 0 Comments

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Echos of an Outlaw's Curse Book Cover Echos of an Outlaw's Curse
J.F. Spieles
Fantasy, Suspense,
Black Rose Writing
(October 30, 2014)
293 pages

When Cameron Rensler's mother dies unexpectedly, his world is turned upside-down. Those who mean well tell him to move on, but closure is impossible for Cam. And for good reason. His mother has not moved on. She appears to him in her garden, in the kitchen, at his school-everywhere they shared memories.

Unable to keep the apparitions to himself, Cam confides in his close friend, Madison Blaylock. Despite Maddie's confidence, Cam's secret is spilled publicly, landing him in the psychiatric ward.

Years later, 15-year-old Cam faces another crisis. This time Maddie is the one showing signs of mental disturbance. Cam is asked to help her, forcing him to confront the dark memories of his own ordeal.

Maddie's story sparks a late night mission into the deepest recesses of Deadman's Trace, a mysterious place steeped in history where the dead keep secrets of their own. For Cam, it's a journey toward an unsettling truth about himself-and about what happened to his mother-that will turn his reality into his worst nightmare.

Warning: This article may contain spoilers.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The author has never asked me or tried to influence me for a positive review, nor have I promised one.

My Impressions:

Starts off slow then picks up the pace after the first few chapters.

Cameron Rensler, Maddison Baylock ,Dr. Peter Rensler, Jack Blaylock, Corina Calloway,Alec DeMarco and Jake and Spider Talishaw,


The story setting is in present day Perry’ Grove,(Perry’s Grove used to be a small mining town)in 2014. Cameron Rensler and the football team were practicing when the amber alert went out for Maddison Blaylock, a fifteen year old female who went missing on the old wagon trail know as Deadman’s Trail. This trail is said to be haunted by the ghost of the Talishaw’s brothers who used to kill and rob travelers on the trail.Jake and Spider and all the other victims it has claimed over the years.Cam was very worried and he and his dad joined the search team to look for her.

Maddie and Cam used to be very good friends when they were younger. She was the one who had been there for him when his mother had died unexpectedly and his world had turned upside-down. He had not been able to put closer to her death because she had not moved on and she kept appearing to him in her garden, in the kitchen, at his school-everywhere they shared memories. he had shared all this with her and she had stood by him. Maddie had never disclosed his secret but it was found out and he had spend two years in the psychiatric ward. He had pushed Maddie and for several years had not spoken to her.

Now all the memories were haunting him and all he wanted was for Maddie to be found and unharmed. When Maddie was found she was not physically harm but she was showing signs of mental disturbance. no one can get through to her not even the doctors on the Psychiatric ward. Cam is asked to help her, forcing him to confront the dark memories of his own ordeal.

Two weeks after his visit, Maddie shows up at his house and tell him a story of hearing voices in a cave, and finding a skeleton in the cave, a story so wild that if he had not been through a similar experience he would have thought her crazy. Maddie begs him to go with her on a late night mission into the deepest recesses of Deadman’s Trace, a mysterious place steeped in history where the dead keep secrets of their own.

Cam agrees and goes with her into the caves and hears the voices for himself. Maddie refuses to leave and sends Cam for her dad. she wants him to come hear the voices for himself. Cam goes for her dad and his dad too. Together they prove to both men that Maddie is not crazy.Dr. Rensler realizes who the skeleton is (it’s the doctor that had joined up with the Talishaw brothers but disappear and was never heard of again) Dr. Rensler finds a letter that give them clues to the Talishaw’s hidden loot, but the story goes that the Talishaw brothers left a curse on their treasure and promised that anyone who tried to find it would die. Dr. Peter Rensler, Alec DeMarco, Jack Blaylock, Corina Calloway, Maddison and Cameron Rensler, all agreed to look for the treasure. But Walt, Cams mother brother warns them to leave it alone that nothing good would come of it.

Cameron starts having nightmares of 2 headless horsemen coming to kill him and he stars seeing his mother again. The closer the group gets to the treasure the worst the nightmares are. Walt refuses to have anything to do with their quest but when they follown the first clue and digs up a grave all hell breaks lose on them there i a hailstorm, the woods catches fire and Corina is hurt. Cameron see the two horsemen and Walt is crushed under a car hes fixing at the exact time that they dig up the grave and finds the last clue to the treasure.

Dr. Rensler finally realizes the truth that he is endangering his by looking for the treasure and they all agree to give it up all except Alex Demarco. Cams father finally tell him the truth about the curse the Talishaw brothers had placed on the sheriff who had killed them, and all his descendants, Cams mother and therefore Cam are direct descendants of the sheriff. Alex steals the clues from Madison’s house and goes off on his own to get the treasure. The others have to follow him and try to stop him or else cam will die.

Cam, Maddie Dr. Rensler and Jack races against time to try to stop him, they have to risk the rapids to try to get to the bridge before Alex finds the treasure but they are too late and Cams sees the riders coming for him again and this time he knows hes going to die, he’s already seen it. Cam is pulled to the bottom of the river while Jack tries to convince Alex to leave the treasure alone. Cam if saved by his dad but he knows the brothers are mad he knows they are coming to finish him. Alex refuses to give up the treasure and chases Jack with an Iron Shaft to kill him.

Cam can see the riders on the bridge. The Talishaw Riders started across the bridge. Soon they would be upon him. There was no use running.They could not be stopped.But halfway across, their horses pulled up. They stood on their hindlegs and whinnied in pain like animals that had been shocked by an invisible barrier.The riders kicked them without mercy, but the horses refused to budge. They tossed their heads and shied. Cam watched, dumbfounded. He’d believed that nothing on this earth had the power to spook them.Then, at the opposite end of the bridge, a bright light coalesced, a pure white beacon that precipitated from the wind. Out of its radiance advanced two riders—a woman and a man—both mounted on snowwhite horses. They carried shields and bore gleaming silver blades. Their faces were not covered.Cam saw them clearly. They poised their steeds where the bridge met the mountain and held their swords upright, blocking the riders in black. Atop their skittish horses, the Talishaws did not back down. They leveled their blades. Responding to the challenge, the white horses stood on their hindlegs, pawed at the air, and then charged.The black horses panicked. They bucked wildly, throwing the Talishaw Riders. Then they turned and galloped, hurling themselves off the bridge. The white-clad riders bore down. Before the unseated Talishaws could recover, silver swords swooped through the air and clove the hooded heads from their bodies. In that instant, the bridge exploded in a blinding flash of brilliance.

The treasure and Alex are destroyed. Cam is take back to the Hospital where the doctor recomends that he is admitted to the psychotic ward. His dad refuses as he now knows the truth and realizes that cam was never crazy he had always been telling the truth.

About the Author:

J.F. Spieles is a native of Wauseon, Ohio. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton and holds an M.A. in Education from The Ohio State University. He currently lives and teaches in Englewood, Ohio. When he is not teaching or writing, he enjoys running and playing tennis. His other books include In Sherman’s Path, a historical fiction novel.

The Verdict:

Highly Recommended

Rating Report
Overall: 5

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