Deborah Tadema                                     
  

    
 Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult, Urban Thrillers, Fantasy and Historical Novels  Book Reviewer




   

  

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Bessie: The Monster in Lake Erie


Port Stanley has a feature that no other town on earth has; its own sea monster. Bessie lives in a cave on the other side of Picnic Hill and calls Lake Erie her home. Hidden from those who would harm her, yet close enough that her two keepers can come to her aid when she's in danger. Mason Brooks didn't realize that he was one of them until he met the man some would call the devil. Mason had inherited the ring, known as the blood stone, from his father. He had never been told about the powers it had or about the connection to Bessie.


Black Tom wears the second ring, called the sky ring. His sudden appearance keeps the people on edge, for there is no record of him prior to this summer. It soon becomes clear that Tom is mistreating Bessie, giving her meat when she's a vegetarian and injecting her with powerful drugs. There are several deaths out on the lake which Bessie is being blamed for. But no one can blame her for the murders that take place on Picnic Hill. Mason suspects Tom. Yet Tom knows how to beat the system and is never convicted of any of them. And Mason has to prove one thing...that Black Tom is not his brother.


The two rings need to work in harmony in order to keep Bessie alive. She eats the algae that grows in the lake and helps to balance the ecosystem. If she doesn't die a natural death Lake Erie will perish.





A Sneak Peek



     From beneath the waves, Bessie watched the man struggle, his face contorted in 


pain as he bounced off the hard clay rocks. Water splashed over him, pulling him 


under. Arms and legs flailed madly about. He coughed and braced for another wall of 


ice-cold water that came straight at him. Fingertips scratched at the packed gravel on 


the cliff wall. The lake took him under again. When he surfaced, he choked, spit out 


mouthfuls of water waited for the next assault.

 

    The man managed to pull himself along the side of the cliff to the outer edge of the 


outcrop. From there, the lake opened up before him, the beach too far away. There 


was no fear in his eyes, just raw determination.

 

    Bessie crawled along the bottom to get a closer look. She had watched humans 


drown before. They were weak and tended to give up too soon. Not this man. He took 


several deep breaths swam out past the clay rocks and rode the large swells. The 


man didn't get far when he stopped for a rest and shivered. She saw his breath in the 


wind. He hugged his side and winced at the hazy sun then tried again. She followed.

 

    Humans had poor eyesight. Bessie had been able to get right up next to them 


before they saw her. Shock and fear would appear on their faces. They'd panic. Some 


died.

   

    A huge wave grabbed the man and pulled him back out. She had lost him. Bessie 


skirted across the lake bottom in search for him. Waves thundered overhead. She 


found him again as he bobbed on the surface, eyes closed, head on his chest. He 


barely moved, barely breathed. She stopped and watched him and waited to see how 


long he would hang on.

 

    A wave crashed down in front of him, splashing his face, and jerked him awake. His 


eyes, the color of a cloudy sky, squinted down at her. She thought he had given up by 


this time, he looked tired. Or maybe he knew she was there because he moved 


closer; near her head and gawked at her with wide eyes.

 

    She did not breathe; did not flick her long tail. Nor did she blow bubbles. Could he 


see her this far under water, through the muck that the lake had stirred up? Did her 


big bulk cast a shadow that shimmered as she moved?     Bessie closed her eyes and 


waited, listening to the roar of the waves overhead. After several seconds, she 


opened them and watched him fight on. This time he seemed panicked, as if 


suddenly, he wanted to live. There was fear in his eyes now. He got caught in an 


undertow and was dragged down only to surface far out in the lake. He gasped for air 


and looked back at the shore. Did she read defeat in his eyes?

  

   His arms and legs didn’t have enough strength to keep him up anymore. Too 


exhausted to lift his head, he sank and was pulled out further. He had stopped his 


courageous fight. Bessie moved in close enough, so he could see her. His eyes were 


closed, his arms floating above his head as he drifted. She nudged him with her 


snout. There was no response. She pushed him toward the shore and lifted him up 


with her nose and rolled him onto the sand.