Epeolatry Book Review: Bad Moon Rising by Luisa Colón


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Title: Bad Moon Rising
Author: Luisa Colón
Publisher: Cemetery Dance Publications
Genre: Horror, Occult
Release date: 11th August, 2023

Synopsis: In Gravesend, Brooklyn, sixteen-year-old Elodia is an outcast at school, at odds with her father, and longing for her mysteriously absent mother. Lonely and isolated, Elodia knows that something unspeakably terrible has happened to her—she just can’t remember what.

Miles away in upstate New York, a young man named Gabriel occupies his time by killing sparrows and searching for his birth parents. Gabriel wants to show them what a good son he can be, well-behaved and helpful and no trouble at all—until a savage betrayal plants an ever-growing seed of revenge within him.

Desperate for the promise of their past lives and future dreams, both Elodia and Gabriel are broken and scarred, their lives shattered. Their wounds run deep—and that kind of damage is irrevocable. Unchangeable. Irreversible.

¡Hola, Lectores! It’s safe to say that none of us has the perfect family. It might be the perfect family for us, whether that’s biological, adoptive, or chosen, but there are flaws. We fight with our parents. We fight with siblings. We have a tío and tía that might not have all their marbles. Sometimes, family members try to kill us to prevent a prophesy foretold years ago…

No? No one’s had that happen? Well, let’s just move on.

Bad Moon Rising is the debut novel by Luisa Colón. Set in late 1980s Brooklyn, New York, the reader is introduced to Elodia, a young girl of Puerto Rican decent who has undergone a life changing trauma. On her first day of Junior High, she doesn’t seem to be particularly excited, but it’s a reprieve from the overly sheltered home life she has with her father. When the new teacher, Duncan Wolk, starts to show special interest in Elodia, she falls for the attention. But soon, Elodia will discover that Wolk is not who she thinks he is.

Gabirel is a lonely boy living with his adoptive family. Gabriel has been searching for his birth family, hoping to learn where he’s from and why he was given up. When his biological family turns up, they are nothing like he expected and once again, Gabriel is on his own. Gabriel will fight to find people who he can call family.

I applaud Colón for the novel’s superior writing. In the past, I’ve stated that novels in this page range can feel fluffed to squeak out a few more pages, or maybe they needed a few more pages to really tell the whole story. Not in this case. At 150 pages, Bad Moon Rising never feels fluffed or slow, or that it’s missing vital information. Colón’s writing flows in such a way that you’ll likely read 20 pages before you realize how far you’ve gotten.

Another bright point in this story is the characters. Elodia is a sweet young girl, who, despite one big character limitation, is written expressively and thoughtfully. Duncan Wolk is written in the best cringe-inducing way possible. His methods of manipulation are sinister and well delivered.  The interaction between Eloida and Duncan leaves you wanting to yell at her to run!

Gabriel is a superior character. Most readers will easily run the emotional gambit while reading his portions of the book. You’ll hate him, care for him, cheer him on, and be sickened by him all in the span of a hundred pages.

One thing the reader will need to keep track of is the shifting of events. Colón employs time-skipping to revisit old events and further emphasize others. Keeping track of side characters and location is key to keeping these straight. 

Bad Moon Rising by Luisa Colón is an amazing novel that incorporates Puerto Rican folklore into a story of betrayal. If you’re like me, you will find this book hard to put down once it’s picked up. I recommend it to all fans of the horror and thriller genre.


Available from Amazon, Bookshop, and Cemetery Dance.

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