F.G. Cottam

The Magdalena Curse

"..a fast paced thriller of terrifying intensity"


In the depths of the Bolivian Amazon, SAS captain Mark Hunter embarks on a secret mission. Part of an international team sent to root out a possible drugs cartel, the plan is to go in, eliminate the targets and get out again. But the mission goes disastrously wrong, with an unnatural number of men left dead Mark is left with a curse that his progeny will ‘commune with the dead.

Years later Mark has left the SAS following the death of his wife and young daughter. He and his son Adam have relocated to Scotland but his son is plagued by disturbing dreams which Mark believes are related to the curse. He seeks the help of Dr Elizabeth Bancroft who despite her medical training soon becomes convinced that Adam is indeed under the influence of malevolent forces.

With the life of his son in danger, Mark must find the woman he encountered in Bolivia, a Miss Hall who is more good than bad. Only she has the power to overcome the work of the malign Mrs Mallory, the initiator of the original curse. But at home in Scotland, Elizabeth must confront her own part in the drama. The healing power of her family has been a blessing and a curse for generations but may prove to be only way to prevent the annihilation of the remaining Hunter family.

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F G Cottam has legions of fans who have been gripped by his standalone supernatural thrillers. This latest book brings all the promise of his previous books together to present a fast paced thriller of terrifying intensity. Cottam interweaves the supernatural and the thriller parts of his book so that it is impossible to separate them out. The idea of a malevolent Mrs Mallory out there in the world dispensing malcontent and evil is so believable that at times you wonder how the narrative can possibly be resolved. Without totally giving the game away the ending is left relatively open and the reader can decide the likelihood of her return. Cottam always writes strong female characters who are instrumental in bringing about redemption. Men, although physically strong, often have a fatal flaw that render them incapable of tackling the forces of evil alone. This tension makes for interesting characters and complex relationships that go beyond the normal man-meets-woman scenario. These relationships are also an important glue for the book which spreads itself across a wide distance geographically. But Cottam has a very good sense of place and his vivid descriptions from the Amazonian jungle to edgy Kennington conjure up an already off-kilter world that could easily tip into chaos. My only slight criticism is that I wanted this book to be longer and I felt bereft after I had finished the book. I am sure that all Cottam’s fans will feel the same.

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