Author: Jennifer Maksimovich
Self Published in 2021
Review by Miriam Atkinson
Jennifer Maksimovich’s short story Two Shadows follows Samantha as she accidentally attracts the attention of a poltergeist. Samantha fears that the poltergeist will continue to terrorise her and her loved ones until she can find a way to successfully free herself.
Two Shadows successfully combines the supernatural with spirituality and religion. All are freely accepted within the world of Two Shadows and all are equally important to the story, whether it is as a tool to progress the plot or resolve it.
Regardless of whether you believe in poltergeists and hauntings I believe readers will, if not empathise, then at least sympathise with Samantha as a central character. I mean, how many of us have woken up in the middle of the night and for a moment thought that there was something else in the room with us? What if we weren’t alone?
The plot is easy to follow as each chapter details a different part of Samantha’s journey – from first encountering the poltergeist, to suffering its effects, to trying to be free of it. With a lot of mysterious elements in Two Shadows I appreciated this clear narrative arc as it helped me keep track of the events in the story.
I have to mention graphic designer Denis Vikic who created the shadowy vines and tendrils that border each page as well as the ominous tarot card style opening chapter pages. Even before I started reading the graphics really helped to set the mood of the story and create an immediately eerie atmosphere.
The pre-notes mention that Two Shadows is based on Maksimovich’s personal haunting experiences, as well as historical facts and fictional elements. It would have been interesting to know the backstory behind the short story, including which parts were based on real experiences. However this is just my own curiosity but I appreciate that Two Shadows made me want to find out more about the author and research the history of the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco where part of the story is based.
No matter what your thoughts are on the supernatural, Two Shadows is a spookily enjoyable story. At times I wondered if Samantha would ever be free of the poltergeist and with the ending setting up a potential sequel we’ll have to wait and see if Maksimovich plans for the poltergeist to wreak more havoc in the future.
Two Shadows was published on Reedsy Discovery in November 2021. This review is also available on Discovery’s website.
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