In Tommie Lyn's Tugger's Down, Tiffani and Olivia awaken a demonic entity on their grandmother's Ouija board - it kills Olivia while attempting to infiltrate the baby in her womb. The baby, Tugger, survives to be constantly plagued by the demon who continually assaults the boy for control of his soul.
At age three, Tugger is at the point of complete physical deterioration. His emotionally detached grandmother sends him along with his nanny to live with his Aunt Regina and her family in Florida. Escaping from the proximity of the demon's hold, Tugger begins to flourish in his new surroundings especially when he meets Lacey.
Lacey is a struggling college student. Raised in a Christian group home, religious values are an essential part of her character. Now living on her own, she tries to make ends meet working at a jewelry kiosk in the mall. It's not until she meets fellow student Porter O'Brien (who happens to be Regina's brother-in-law) that she begins to let down her guard.
One problem - Porter has a notorious past as a ladies man. When Lacey initially rebuffs his advances, he turns his attention to another classmate, Jennie. This proves to be a major error in Porter's calculations when his interest in Lacey turns into an undeniable attraction. Lacey finds herself falling for Porter when he takes a genuine interest in her - repairing her car, buying her lunch and driving her to work. However, Jennie sews seeds of distrust in Lacey's mind in regards to Porter's fidelity. Just when Lacey begins to rely on Porter, she doesn't know whether to pursue the relationship or withdraw before Porter can hurt her.
In the meantime, the demon continues to pursue Tugger. When Tiffani and her sister, Heather, once again use the Ouija board, the demon takes over Heather's body and kills Tiffani. Traveling to Regina's home in Florida, a final showdown occurs. Only Lacey and Porter stand between Tugger and the demon's wrath.
Tommie Lyn is a master at creating realistic characters. Characters that readers care about. Her talent is apparent in fleshing out their personalities with believable details. Tugger's internal struggle with the demon is depicted by his nanny having to relax his clenched toes in order to put on his socks. Porter's issues with the harsh Navy discipline of his father illustrate the root cause of his teenage rebellion. Lacey's abandonment by her mother taught her to push people away instead of allowing anyone to get close enough to hurt her. The emotional detachment of Tugger's grandmother derives from her familial connection to a woman convicted in the Salem witch trials. The characters are multi-dimensional with relationships that are imperfect yet real.
Overall, this is a supernatural thriller with a whole lot of heart.
Tugger's Down by Tommie Lyn is available for $12.99 at Amazon.com and TommieLynn.com.
A complimentary review copy was provided by Tommie Lyn.
Also by Tommie Lyn: And Night Falls, On Berryhill Road and Scribbles.
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