The Devils Footsteps By Amanda Stevens
Just five miles from the boarder of Louisiana, a small farm sat, according to the local legends. It was here the old man had seen the footsteps stamped into the roof of his house; cloven like the feet of a goat but he felt something sinister looking at the prints.
Seventy years later, the farm house stands and the local teenagers use it as a place of gathering. It was here that Sarah and her dog first see the imaginary boy in Amanda Steven's The Devil's Footprints.
Sarah is a loner by nature, mistreated by her father that always lavished love on her sister Rachel instead of her. Without any friends and severe depression and impending mental issues, the local kids call her Suicide Sarah and her father finally convinces her mother to have her sent away to a school for troubled youth so she would be out of the house.
Only in that area of the abandoned farmhouse had Sarah felt any form of companionship with a strange goth boy named Ashe Cain. She couldn't find anyone else in town that seemed to know of existence of Ashe so she first thought that he was like the other teens going by some sort of a moniker to sound cooler that he actually was.
Then she realized no one else seemed to be able to see Ashe either and was convinced that her friend was imaginary.
He convinced her that he could feel her pain, that they were mirror images and two sides of the same person.
When Sarah was sent away near the time of her sister's murder, she had never seen Ashe again and at first longed for his presence. Then as she got older she began to realize that strange things happened to the people that she had talked to Ashe about and somehow through him she must be manifesting these events upon people.
Years later in New Orleans, Sarah is dreaming about Ashe again the night she gets a call from an ex boyfriend, a detective that wants her consultation on the artwork on the body of a murder victim.
Suddenly Ashe is back.
A tattoo artist in New Orleans, Sarah has come a long way from the mousy girl that no one had felt mattered much in her childhood. Her ex boyfriend only wanted her to identify the artwork and see it it seemed the style of anyone on the local tattooing scene, but being at the site of the murder, it awakens everything about Ashe that Sarah had hoped to hide.
I AM You
Mirrored images, that is what Ashe had called himself and Sarah in those early days when she was so alone and needing of a friend.
Ashe had appeared in her room at night to talk to her and share gifts.
Sarah was never afraid as he understood her. He was a special friend that only appeared to her.
This was when she had thought Ashe was imaginary.
Seeing the words written on the mirrors and walls of the murder victims house, Sarah began to feel uneasy.
Finding out that the victim was also someone from her home town that had known her sister was nothing new being on a boarder town but as the second victim showed up with similar messages on the walls of the small apartment where she was found and the same tattooing on her body postmortem, Sarah feels that whatever she has awakened has to be connected to the events that happened around her sister's death fourteen years before.
The list of victims all seemed to be young women that had known Sarah's older sister, Rachel. When the wife of the detective goes missing and is found in the opened grave of Sarah's sister, passing her off as a suspect is just too hard to dismiss.
The Night Rachel Died
Sarah has issues remembering just how Rachel had died.
Away at school, Sarah remembers walking home covered in her sister's blood. Her mother rushed her upstairs and into the shower before the knowledge of Rachel's death and washed it all off her and then commanded the housekeeper who lived in the neighboring home to burn Sarah's clothing.
Her father says that to the time of her death, her mother had thought Sarah to blame for the killing of Rachel.
Sarah has no memory of the events, or any of the other victims being connected to Rachel but she has the weirdest suspicion that they have something to do with Ashe Cain.
Perhaps it was the years of therapy, but Sarah can't remember anything to the present day about the death of Rachel, her own whereabouts at the time of the death, and how the others that were since killed are connected.
Sarah traced her steps.
She tapered off her antidepressants. There has to be a logical explanation for how all of this was connected.
There was no way that she was a time bomb waiting to explode in the wings. How could she have manifested the imaginary friend that was doing the killing?
The housekeeper still lived close by and she has a memory of the events as well. She explained that she and her boy had seen another man around the house of Sarah's dad and reported the events to the current police deputy. Days later as Sarah rolled into town to visit her father, the old man was found murdered.
Who would kill a man that was already terminal?
Everyone knew he resented Sarah and there was talk that she wasn't even his biological daughter but was that enough to kill an old man?
Sarah knows she definitely didn't kill her father and made sure to let the deputy know it. Until she became one of the missing herself, only then she learned the terrible truth.
The mirror image was not a dream. He was not a manifestation brought to life but a very sick man.
Hidden In Plain Sight Behind Another Face
There was a reason no one had heard of Ashe Cain.
It was only one of the identities that resided inside the man. One of which was the current deputy and he had Sarah and her psychologist in his possession and ready to kill them just as the others before.
He explained the only death he wasn't guilty of was Rachel's as it was explained from the son of the housekeeper and Sarah's uncovered memories that her father had a very unnatural love of her sister and was willing to kill to keep her at home after her recent pregnancy.
It was up to the detective to understand the true nature of the split personality killer. Sarah was sickened to know that he had hatched onto her as a child and was so obsessed with her that he continued to kill for her in her adult years.
The Devil's Footsteps is the first of Steven's books I have read not associated with The Graveyard Queen series and as a stand alone it is fantastic. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a quick read creepy mystery.