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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
The Dybbuk Box is a supernatural horror novel written by Ane Ryan Walker. It was just a harmless pastime; an evening's forbidden entertainment that the young women indulged in for laughs and thrills. The Ouija Board had actually won them enough money to pay one of their rents and a few other necessities. Ruth Cohen knew better; she had the gift that had been passed on from her mother, but she had yielded to the pressure of her friends. Her brother, Rabbi Benjamin Cohen, knew what had to be done when they inadvertently invited something awful in. He suppressed his own natural instinct to leave these irresponsible children to their own fates, but he would never abandon his sister. Setting out a candle, bell, and a bottle containing wine, he prepared himself to speak the words that would bind the entity back into the carved wooden box. There was a unearthly and foul odor that filled the room and a black fog whirled and contorted until it finally diminished into a thin stream and poured itself into the box. Cohen wrapped the box in an animal skin marked with ancient symbols and warned the young women to never open it or keep it in one place for too long. It would be a shared responsibility that they would bear for the rest of their lives.
Ane Ryan Walker's The Dybbuk Box is one of those spooky, scary, paranormal horror stories that fans of the genre just can't get enough of. I loved the opening scene when Rabbi Benjamin subdues and captures the entity. It's richly atmospheric and beautifully sets the stage for a horror tale that delivers. Walker's story is a gripping one that's hard to put down, and her characters are well-defined and authentic. I especially admired Becca, Cohen's niece, who must come to terms with psychic gifts no one will talk to her about, that is until she meets some special friends in college. There's also a marvelous nighttime psychic tour of the hospital of an abandoned penitentiary that keeps the thrills going in a big way. The Dybbuk Box is grand fun and eminently respectable horror all at the same time; it's most highly recommended.