Shadow of the Beast by Margaret L. Carter 2 covers

Shadow of the Beast by Margaret L. Carter (Paranormal Romance/mild horror)

Shadow of the Beast by Margaret L. Carter 2 covers
Available in ebook and print

After the mysterious deaths of her brother and sister at the fangs of what looks like a feral dog, Jenny Cameron develops nightmares and blackouts. The quest for the truth about herself leads to her long-lost father, who deserted the family before her birth. He seeks redemption for the curse he carries, but has his bloody past condemned him beyond salvation? When Jenny discovers the secret of her dark heritage, she’s no longer sure she can trust her dangerous nature enough to be with the man she loves, and she may ultimately be forced to destroy her own father. Fearing she has inherited the violence that rages in him, she struggles to find her true self under the shadow of the beast.

GENRE: Fantasy Romance    ISBN: 978-1-925574-81-4    ASIN: B08D3GJYH9   Word Count: 57, 535

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Based on 6 Reviews


Margaret L. Carter has written an intelligent and intriguing novel that reads very much like something out of real life, with the exception that we are given entree into the life of a woman who is a werewolf. Usually, werewolf novels tend to be overly male-centric and treat the werewolf as a mindless beast crazed with bloodlust. So, it was for me, very refreshing to read a novel about a WOMAN WEREWOLF. (The transformation sequences were well done. I could appreciate Jenny's anxiety when she woke up one morning naked not far from the remnants of an animal she had killed the previous night as a wolf. Frightened, she managed to make it home, barely escaping exposure. ) I was also fascinated with the way Jenny, through psychoanalysis, was able to tap into her "Wolf" side, overcome a number of challenges, and learn to fully embrace and accept being a werewolf. Hopefully, in future, more intelligently written and imaginative werewolf novels will come into the market. Novels that feature men and women alike as werewolves, hailing from all walks of life. May some deft writer or group of writers do for the werewolf genre what Anne Rice has already done for vampires!

KOMET December 10, 2002

very well written, but...

A young woman with a traumatic past has to deal with yet more horror as her dreams turn out to be real. As a piece of literary prose, it is very well written, giving great character depth and a superb sense of the emotions that the heroine faces. Having said that, the story itself is not particularly gripping, possibly because, being quite short, there isnt quite enough there to keep you fascinated until the small hours. Not much book for a lot of money, which is unfortunate, given how well it is written...

Book Boy July 8, 2002

5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic werewolf suspense novel

In Annapolis, Maryland, to say that life has been harsh for legal research assistant Jennie Cameron would be a major understatement of the truth. Jennie's biological father simply vanished not long after she was born. She has no memories of the man except for the few tidbits her mother mentioned over the years. A red-eyed feral animal killed her two siblings in her home, leaving Jennie in shock, with nightmares, and an unsuccessful therapy. However, Jennie's nightmare is just beginning to turn real as the neighbor's cat is mangled and left dead in the nearby snow followed closely by the death due to cardiac failure of her mother. Still grieving, a rapist attacks Jenny only to be ripped apart by some animal that leaves Jenny alone as if she is a ward. Only Jenny has the power to defeat the beast of evil that stalks her every movement, but she needs to go deep into her own past to release the feral power hiding inside her. The cost of freeing her dark side could be her grip on humanity. THE SHADOW BEAST is a brilliant tale that combines classic werewolf horror with psychological suspense. The story line is fast-paced with no wasted subplots as the reader follows Jenny's descent into the early stages of depression. Jenny is a great character and her boyfriend Kurt provides more insight into her personality. Fans of horror tales will fully relish this grim, taut thriller that demonstrates the genre has a new star, Margaret L. Carter. Harriet Klausner

Amazon Customer December 23, 2000

5.0 out of 5 stars supernatural and psychological terror merge

Like all good horror novels the core of Shadow of the Beast are the secrets which are ultimately revealed as the story progesses --- the book is a fantastic interveaving of Jungian themes, horror tale archetypes and likable characters. As a reader it amazed me to see who or "what" I was in sympathy with --- an excellant book for horror fans and a fans of the psychologically based novel

"d-g-k" February 18, 1999

Blue Bar


“…A short, tightly-written novel…a lot of fun to read…better than the average horror novel you pick up these days.”

Cemetery Dance

 “An entertaining account of a young woman…coming to realize in her 20s that she’s got a rather longer and more complicated puberty to negotiate than most of her fellow females.”


Chapter 1


One more block, and I’m safe.

Oak branches arched over the narrow street, contracting it to a dark tunnel. A chilly September rain dripped from sodden leaves onto Jenny Cameron’s shoulder-length hair. Her backpack, bulging with textbooks, sagged heavily on her shoulders.

Come on, Jen, we’re going out for a snack. We’ll give you a ride home after. She could be sitting at a table in a bright, dry room right this minute, munching on pizza. Nope, sorry, Dan’s home alone with Paula. He’ll never get her to bed without me.

What a lousy night to ride the bus. I just have to buy a car, and soon! Of course her twin brother wouldn’t get off his butt and drive her.

Don’t be such a wimp, it’s only a four-block walk. A wet, dark, deserted four blocks. Still, this Maryland suburb of Washington was as safe as any neighborhood could be these days.

Brushing a soaked strand of brownish-auburn hair back from her forehead, Jenny quickened her pace from a brisk walk to a jog. The backpack thumped against her shoulders, while mud splashed on her jeans and clunky loafers. Wind whipped the trees and lashed her face with rain.

Almost home.

She peered ahead through water-flecked, gold-rimmed glasses at her house. Completely dark.

Power failure? No, the street lights were shining. Other houses were lit up.

Dan knows to leave the porch light on for me. The folks go away for one week, and I can’t trust him to do a simple thing like that.

She hitched up the backpack and groped in her purse for the front door key, automatically stepping over the cracked porch step. Damn it, where’s the key? She dug through layers of pens, tissues, coins, and crumpled bills–there. Her fingers closed on the key ring.

The door creaked as she eased it open. She jumped at the sound. “Dan? Paula? Where is everybody?” They couldn’t be asleep. Her flaky brother couldn’t have coaxed a twelve-year-old to crash for the night this early. Jenny fumbled for the light switch.

The pole lamp next to the door came on. “Dan, if you’re playing some stupid trick, I’ll kill you.”

No answer.

Her throat tightened. Come on, don’t lose it yet. Maybe he took Paula out someplace and forgot to leave the lights on. He was spacy enough to do that, the way he’d been acting lately. She dropped her things on the nearest end table.

They would’ve left a note. Gone out for burgers, back soon. Jenny scanned the living room, rummaged through the magazines on the coffee table. No sign of a note.

Then she heard–something–from the den, at the other end of the house.

Something –a low, drawn-out rumble of sound. A growl.

Quietly as she could, Jenny slipped off her loafers and tiptoed through the dining room, sidling around the perimeter of the hardwood floor to avoid the squeaky boards in the middle. She edged past the swinging door into the kitchen, her pulse throbbing in her temples.

Her groping hand fell upon the wall phone. What are you waiting for, call 911! She imagined sirens, flashing red lights, a pair of husky policemen barging in. And at the same moment, Dan and Paula strolling up the sidewalk with a video and bag of popcorn.

It’s nothing to get freaked about. A stray dog in the back yard, that’s all.

Leaning against the refrigerator, she felt along the top for the flashlight. She held her breath to listen closer.

Yes–snarls rising to a crescendo. More than one. Not out back. Inside the house.

Wind rattled the sliding glass door in the den, the one that opened onto the patio.

Shifting the flashlight to her left hand, she dug in a drawer for a butcher knife. Clutching the hilt in an overhand grip, she crept toward the closed door between kitchen and den. Sweat slicked her palms.

She tucked the flashlight under her arm to turn the doorknob. The mingled growls and snarls from the den grew still louder.

A foul smell wrinkled her nose. For a minute she couldn’t place it. Then it came to her–decayed leaves, wet fur, rank odors.

Something that belonged to the night, out there. Not in here. Her leg muscles trembled.

She jerked the door open and clicked on the flashlight. The glint of red eyes.

She whipped the beam from side to side. Two pairs of eyes.

The scene hit her in fragments, like scattered puzzle pieces. The familiar shabby furniture. A cushion and afghan from the couch heaped on the floor. A lamp smashed on the floor. The patio door, open.

And in front of it, a huge, shaggy animal. In the quivering flashlight beam, it looked–deformed. A second beast crouched over another heap. Jenny trained the light in that direction.

On the braid rug Paula lay huddled face down, her powder-blue pajamas splotched with dark stains. The growling receded in Jenny’s ears to a uniform roar, like static.

The thing stepped over Paula and slinked toward Jenny. A gleam of pink-tinged spittle drooled from its jaws. Screaming, she dropped the knife and flashlight.

Nausea swelled in her throat. A gray fog thickening in front of her eyes. Flashes of red.

Then, nothing.

Wolf prints scene break

 She couldn’t move. Her limbs felt like soggy rags. A dull pain throbbed in her left arm. Her jaws felt sore. The air smelled like swamp muck and moldy fur.

And something metallic. Blood.

After a while she forced her eyes open. For a minute, still too weak to move, she stared at the white ceiling.

Little by little memory returned. Oh, God, Paula! Dan!

Jenny painfully sat up. The room was still dark. She could barely see the open glass door to the patio, letting in a damp breeze. Crawling to the couch, she groped for the remaining unbroken lamp.

The light showed Paula’s body on the rug. No, this has to be a dream. It has to be. She slumped on the couch and closed her eyes. When she opened them, the scene hadn’t changed.

And there was another body. Dan’s. The naked body of her twin brother, his brown hair matted with drying blood, his chest and neck gashed. She saw reddish paw prints next to him.

Jenny’s stomach churned. She stumbled into the kitchen and slammed the door on the lurid vision. She hung onto the wall for several minutes before she could drag herself over to the phone. After dialing 911, she choked out the address and hung up. Staggering to the table, she realized that her blouse was completely shredded.

Her left arm oozed blood through the torn cloth. A thin, red stream dribbled from under her cuff and spidered across her shaking hand. She sat down and buried her head in her arms.

Footsteps. Voices.

Hands touched her, and she found herself lying on her back with her feet elevated. Oscillating red lights penetrated her closed lids. Snatches of speech filtered through to her–“She’s in shock”–“Starting an IV now”–“Rabies inoculation”.

Jenny heard a motor starting, felt the vibrations around her. The wail of a siren knifed through her head. She felt a hand on her shoulder. “Miss, can you talk? We need to know if you three were alone in the house. Was that your brother and sister in there?”

“Half-sister–” Tears stung her eyes. Please, not Paula!

“Was anyone else home?”

“No–Mom and Dad–my stepdad–” Her voice sounded thick and slurred. “They’re away.”

The gently relentless voice went on, “Can you tell me where they are? We have to notify them.”

“On vacation–” The tears overflowed in racking sobs.

Over the siren, she heard a distant howl. Mocking her grief. Crying out to her.

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