I received a complimentary copy of The Unholy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
About The Unholy: “A young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, the Unholy is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision.”
Claire is a young medicine woman who witnessed her mother’s murder at a young age. After that, she was raised by her mother’s friends who also followed the tradition. She was expected to carry on her mother’s work as an adult, but Claire had other ideas. She saw what being a medicine woman did to her mother. To her, that life was a death sentence.
Still, Claire couldn’t turn her back on her talents. Instead, she used them to help others in a different way: by becoming a natural healer who also specialized in psychology. She used her rare combination of talents to help the mentally ill at a psychiatric facility for “the worst of the worst.” I found this part fascinating. I love the idea of combining more natural healing techniques with a deep understanding of psychology! The two really do go hand in hand. Anyway, Claire’s talents help her rise fast in the hospital. She’s happy with her position and doesn’t really want things to change.
Of course, for there to be a story, things must change! You just know they’re not going to change for the better, either. Despite her objections, Claire finds herself in a position where she must accept who she is if she wants to find out who killed her mother…and save herself.
The Unholy was an enjoyable book. I loved that the writer so vividly described the rich heritage and landscape of the southwest. As someone who prefers more nature-based religions myself, I felt it was easy to connect to Claire and to her plight against the corrupt religious factions that plagued her family. Let’s face it, those who follow natural paths have dealt with some really horrible persecution over the centuries! While I thought such factions reserved their vitriol for Neo-Pagan religions, DeBlassie taught me an important lesson that we’re not the only ones who have been issued “burn at the stake on sight” orders.
While I did enjoy the story of The Unholy, what I really enjoyed was how it encouraged me to go beyond the words on the page (or screen, as I was reading it on my Kindle). It made me want to learn more about the tradition of Medicine Women. That, even more than the enjoyable plot, makes this a fantastic read.
About the author:
Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D., is a psychologist and writer living in Albuquerque who has treated survivors of the dark side of religion for more than 30 years. His professional consultation practice — SoulCare — is devoted to the tending of the soul. Dr. DeBlassie writes psychological thrillers with an emphasis on the dark side of the human psyche. The mestizo myth of Aztlan, its surreal beauty and natural magic, provides the setting for the dark phantasmagoric narrative in his fiction. He is a member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.