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Uncaged Review – The Haunting of Dr. Bowen by C.A. Verstraete

The Haunting of Dr. Bowen
C.A. Verstraete

Gruesome deaths haunt the industrial city of Fall River, Massachusetts.

Dr. Seabury Bowen—physician to the infamous Lizzie Borden—swears he’s being stalked by spirits, though his beloved wife thinks it’s merely his imagination. But the retired doctor insists that neither greed nor anger provoked the recent sensational axe murders in Fall River. Rather, he believes the city is poisoned by bad blood and a thirst for revenge dating back to the Indian and Colonial wars.

Now, two years after the Borden murders, Dr. Bowen is determined to uncover the mysteries stirring up the city’s ancient, bloodthirsty specters. Can he discover who, or what, is shattering the peace before Fall River runs red? Or will he be the next victim?

Part mystery, part love story, The Haunting of Dr. Bowen reveals the eerie side of Fall River as witnessed by the first doctor on the scene of the legendary Borden murders.

A supernatural tie-in to the book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, but without the zombies. Based on real-life events and historic documents, though some parts have been fictionalized to fit the story. * Contains some light horror details.

Uncaged Review: The Haunting of Dr. Bowen by C.A. Verstraete is a companion novel to Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter. I have to preface this review by saying that to really understand and enjoy this short novel, you must read Lizzie Borden first– otherwise you are missing out on a significant building block for the story. Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter is an excellent novel by Verstraete, and I highly recommend it.

Now, on to the actual subject of this review: The Haunting of Dr. Bowen. This book is in the perspective of the doctor and family friend of the Bordens, who has since retired. Understandably, his involvement with the Borden case was a traumatic one, so it comes as no surprise that he’s haunted by the memories of it– but the ‘haunting’ part of the book’s title also has a more literal sense, as Dr. Bowen decides to do some investigative work of his own thanks to a ghost shadowing his life since he was a boy.

I really have to commend Verstraete on her portrayal of Dr. Bowen. While I thought from the start that Dr. Bowen might be on to something given the evidence he found, it was always a question as to whether or not he was really all there. I was not sure on a few occasions if what he was seeing was actually there, if it were a dream or a hallucination. I think that speaks volumes of the ability of the writer, and is exactly the kind of immersion you want to encourage in a first-person book wherein the protagonist themself is questioning their sanity.

Verstraete did an excellent job creating a neat little arc and including evidence here and there about what was really going on, all of which pieced together nicely in the resolution even though there was a lot that did not make sense when it was first introduced. Additionally, Verstraete added one last bittersweet surprise on to the end of the book that reminded me of the end of this story’s predecessor.

Overall, I found it to be an enjoyable story to go along with Lizzie Borden, and would recommend this book if you have read that one. Though it explores a slightly different facet of the paranormal genre, it fits nicely into the world that Verstraete had already built. Reviewed by Kaitlin

4 Stars


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