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Sacra Obscurum (by Todd Allen)


Author: Todd Allen
Cover Artist: Dawné Dominique
Length: Plus-Novel
Genre/s: Horror/Demonic
Violence: 2
Heat Level: 1

eBook: 9781629292113

Print: 9781629292120

SKU: 9781629292113 Categories: , , , , , ,


Clinical psychiatrist, Matt Dawson, is returning home to the seaside town of Saint Andrews after the sudden passing of his father, Stanley. Matt must put his own career on hold while he oversees Stanley’s practice. Among the patients thrust into his care is the withdrawn Morris Dykeman—a man accused of a brutal murder several years ago.

As he strives to uncover his patient’s past, Matt learns of Stanley’s interest in the occult and rumors persist that he was involved in a bloody night in 1952 that changed the town forever.
Now Matt searches for a rare book that can unlock the truth behind the events of that night and the killing spree that followed. But, a group of influential townspeople stands in the way and will stop at nothing to prevent Matt from learning the secrets of the Sacra Obscurum.

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4 Responses to Sacra Obscurum (by Todd Allen)


    Secrets will damn us all…
    Secrets can be an insidious thing, able to due untold amounts of damage. The destructive nature of secrets is at the heart of the terror in Sacra Obscurum, the debut novel from Todd Allen. Set in coastal Canada, and more specifically, the haunted Saint Michael’s mental health hospital, it’s a novel of fathers and sons, small towns and how secrets pass down through generations.

    The main character of the story is Matt Dawson, a psychiatrist who is drawn back to the town he grew up in by the death of his father. Stanley Dawson, also a psychiatrist, owns and operates Saint Michael’s, a small, private mental health facility dedicated to treating patients in need of long term in patient care. Matt, leaving his job in a public healthcare institution, finds himself running his father’s hospital and trying to salvage it from financial ruin. Matt becomes overwhelmed after bring on a new doctor, who is to take over the hospital after he returns to his real job, and finds conflicts growing with his staff and one peculiar patient.

    Morry Dykeman seems a model patient at first glance. He’s quite to the point of being mute, he doesn’t move under his own power and consequently creates no problems for the hospital staff. But Matt notices that he’s medicated to the point of medical catatonia, a condition that provides no opportunity for the patient to recover or rehabilitate. As he digs deeper into the case of Dykeman, Matt uncovers a complete lack of records for the man. The secrets centering on Dykeman become the main thrust of the narrative.

    Matt Dawson is a well realized character, a doctor with principles and a man with demons. He comes across very realistic as do many of the supporting players. The newly graduated Darcy, the new doctor hired to take over the operation is idealistic and motivated by very honest emotions regarding a dark family past. The orderlies and nurses compliment these characters and come off in a likewise three dimensional way. Some of the townsfolk are real enough that the reader is actually able to make inferences about their histories and see those inferences become true.

    This is a first novel for Allen, and it is an impressive debut. One criticism is with the dialogue, which is the only unnatural element of the characters. It often comes off as stilted and more like lines being read than words being spoken. The other story element that didn’t quite work was the early scenes about the presence, or ghost, roaming the halls of the hospital. As the story develops these scenes become better fleshed-out and more relevant to the greater plot, but the early ones, short though they were, didn’t click as well as the rest of the story. Neither of these things bog down the story, though, which constantly moves ahead with a quick pace.

    Scara Obscurum is very entertaining novel from a great new voice in horror. As one of the best first novels of the year it establishes Todd Allen as a writer to watch. ~ Timothy S. Potter, Amazon Reviewer


    Fantastic first effort from this new voice in horror
    Todd Allen adeptly paints a detailed picture of small town life, populates it with well developed characters you can actually care about and then unleashes the hellhounds on them. Reminiscent of early Koontz, the story has a definable brooding quality as the main character comes to grips with a childhood trauma and a strained relationship with his deceased father. Through this storyline, Allen carries the book’s main theme, that some secrets are dangerous and no matter how well you hide them, they can come back to haunt you. Allen unfolds the plot gradually making for some excellent suspense as his characters struggle with demons both real and imagined. Fans of occult-based horror will appreciate this one, as he describes rituals in such detail, it makes me wonder if he has actually conjured demons himself.
    If Allen faltered anywhere, it seemed he shied away from violence a couple of times. While his ability to build terror didn’t suffer much in this regard, it may leave some hardcore horror fans wanting more.

    All in all, Allen’s first book was a wonderful surprise and I’ll be looking forward to his next. ~ JD, Amazon, Reviewer


    Secrets will damn us all…
    I won a signed paperback of this one from a Goodreads giveaway and am super glad I did. A very good first novel from Todd Allen. I will be looking forward to more from him in the future. Solid 4.5+ Stars and Highly Recommended! ~ Bill, Amazon Reviewer


    Now, for the story.
    It’s what I would call a “classic horror” story. My aforementioned best friend described it to me as “it’s similar to Stephen King”. I can assure you that it’s not. What I thought it was like, at least in the way of ambiance, are those old horror movies I used to watch when I was young. Amityville Horror, The Exorcist, you know the ones I mean…the ones that used to leave you buried under the covers at night when the lights went out, praying that the creak you just heard was the wind and not something evil coming to get you.

    This story had most of the classic elements: The psychiatric hospital, ghost, demons, book of the occult. The only thing missing was the priest.

    A psychiatrist, Matt Dawson, learns of his father Stanley’s death and flies home to take care of his affairs. His father was also a psychiatrist and he left Matt with a dilapidated psychiatric facility, a lot of debt and even more secrets. It seems Dad had a bit of a secret past, but Matt never would have had a chance to find out about the small town happenings as Stanley had sent him away when he was a teenager. He’s learning about all of it now, hopefully in time to save some lives.

    It was fun to read… OK, that didn’t come out right. I don’t mean it was a “fun” horror book, but it was enjoyable and just a little nostalgic. Even though this story differs from those others, it was the ambiance that brought me back to my youth. I’m a hard person to scare but I love it when authors try.

    Now go out and get this book… ~ Rose, Amazon Reviewer

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