Reviewed by Zeth Vilardo
Joy Jarrett’s first book Old Cravings starts off with the reader being introduced to a messy situation in a rather messy line of work. Piper is a veterinarian in the mountains amongst Colorado. In the medical field however, there are just some wounds that never truly heal. This was clear when Piper received a phone call from her ex-husband, Dylan, about her old horse, lightning. Something had gone terrible wrong. Unfortunately, their reunion was under rather poor circumstances as Piper, lost in thought after returning to the old Krazy K Ranch, was startled back to reality by the gun shot that ended her ravaged horses’ life. As the frightening reality of the events that led Piper and her ex-husband back together began to unfold, a Blizzard traps the couple together in the mountains at the ranch.
Old Cravings is the first work of Joy Jarrett, even considered that, it is definitely something that I would and will recommend to many. Without delving too deep into the plot and ruining any surprises about the mysteries that make the book such a page turner and a definite must-read. The book blends a number of different genres into a super compelling and engaging story. The romance between Piper and Dylan feels really like the hook that drags you in. Everyone loves a redemption story, even more so for lost lovers and the idea of if something is meant to be, it will be, pulls at everyone’s heart strings. Wanting to see how the story develops is definitely something that got my attention initially when I started looking for a new book to sink my teeth into. Another element of the story that really hooks you is two parts: one part horror and one part grief. When you stumble upon Lightning, Piper’s old Palamino at the ranch, he’s being put down after a mysterious morning injury. Something unnatural. The kind of injuries (that I won’t go into because I feel like it helps build the suspense) aren’t something that anything in the mountains of Colorado would do and are a bit too… cruel and powerful for a human to do to a horse that size at the crack of dawn, especially by their self. The fear of the unknown and whether whatever did this, sticks to the minds of the characters, so much so that it builds a sort of haunting suspense that is addictive the more you read and experience it. The last piece of this magical book is the paranormal and supernatural events that go on throughout. By some point in the book, you start to realize that something or someone is controlling the events that take place throughout, for some sinister reason that remains hidden until all the pieces of the puzzle come together. So unnatural as to be controlling animals that would otherwise never come into human territory, seemingly time itself is displaced to where relics of the past show up in the present, all while Piper and the rest of our cast of characters simply try to survive this blizzard.
To say that Old Cravings is one genre or another would be a disservice to the other fantastic elements Jarrett brings to the piece. The horror element definitely helps drive the suspense of the story but the romance brings enough lift to the story at times to pull you away from the peril the characters face just long enough to brighten the mood if only for a moment. With all of that being said, the only downside I can really think about this book is that I had to stumble on it by chance just get a real shot at enjoying it! All of the elements of this book really come together and make it a new favorite for me and something I would definitely recommend to anyone that loves a good thrill with a healthy dose of romance. Be sure to pick up a copy from Literary Wanderlust’s website in either paperback or ebook. You won’t find something as satisfying to sit down and sink your teeth into as Joy Jarrett’s Old Cravings.