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The Fortune by Michael McDowell Review

Title: The Fortune

Author: Michael McDowell

First published May 1, 1983

172 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9780380827848 (ISBN10: 0380827840)

Rating: 4.22


Betsy Taylor, the undead queen, is back and shopping like there’s no tomorrow. But being a vampire has its downsides, especially when it comes to finding a decent latte.

Her employees at Scratch are also giving her a hard time, still bitter about her killing their former boss. Just when she thought her life couldn’t get any more complicated, her wicked stepmother drops a bombshell at a baby shower – Betsy has a long-lost half-sister who happens to be the devil’s daughter and destined to rule the world.

Will the undead queen be able to handle this new addition to her family?

About the Author

Michael McDowell was a renowned horror writer who had a vast collection of work in the genre. He was born in 1950 in Enterprise, Alabama, and passed away in 1999 due to AIDS-related illness in Boston, Massachusetts.

His debut horror novel, The Amulet, tells the story of several individuals in a small town who suffer tragedies after acquiring a supernatural pendant.

In his second novel, , a woman’s corpse is dumped in a river after she is murdered. However, her spirit roams the land seeking revenge on her killer, who is plotting to harm her surviving relatives.

Don D’Ammassa, a writer, praised McDowell’s ability to balance reality and unreality, adding that it is one of the best ghost stories ever written at novel length.

In , McDowell creates a similar eerie atmosphere where visitors come to stay at a secluded house occupied by embodiments of elemental forces.

In his book, , McDowell portrays a clairvoyant serial killer who uses her powers of perception to evade her trackers. Her parents are aware of her crimes but choose to derive financial gain from them.

McDowell’s book, , focuses on the imaginings of a man with mental illness who strives to conduct himself within society. D’Ammassa praised this book as “perhaps the best novel ever written from the point of view of a schizophrenic.”

One of McDowell’s notable works is the six-part serial novel Blackwater, which chronicles a southern family’s fascination with the supernatural. Additionally, he has written screenplays for various films, including Tim Burton’s horror comedy and the animated production.

Stephen King regarded McDowell as one of the “finest writers of paperback originals in America today.” Tabitha King completed McDowell’s unfinished novel, which was published in 2006 to favorable reviews. McDowell never tried to be something he wasn’t, saying, “I am a commercial writer, and I’m proud of that.

I think it is a mistake to try to write for the ages.”

Editoral Review

The Fortune by Michael McDowell is a gripping thriller novel that was first published on May 1, 1983. Michael McDowell was an American author best known for his horror and suspense novels, and The Fortune is a testament to his extraordinary talent for weaving a captivating and ominous tale.

Set in the early 20th century, The Fortune revolves around the wealthy and powerful Drummond family, who reside in a grand mansion in Perdido, Alabama. The Drummonds have everything one could wish for: wealth, status, and prestige.

However, their perfect life is about to be deranged when it is revealed that they are cursed by a dark and vengeful force. The novel features an exquisite cast of characters, each with their own intriguing motives and secrets.

The patriarch, Aristotle Drummond, is a ruthless and cunning businessman who will stop at nothing to cling to his wealth and power. Meanwhile, his loyal wife, Miss Olivia, is trapped in a loveless marriage, and the younger generation of Drummonds – Buck, Mercy, and Sarah – struggle to break free from their family’s shadow.

The setting of the novel is equally captivating. The small town of Perdido is depicted as a place of both charm and danger, where social hierarchies and prejudices rule supreme.

The story unfolds at a fast pace, keeping the reader on edge with its twists and turns. One of the most impressive aspects of The Fortune is how it takes a classic Southern Gothic genre and elevates it with its intricate plot and multifaceted characters.

McDowell explores themes of greed, power, love, and redemption in a manner that is both gripping and thought-provoking. Additionally, the novel provides a stark commentary on the injustices and prejudices of the past, which still resonate with our current times.

However, The Fortune is not without its flaws. Some readers might find the novel’s climax to be somewhat predictable, and a few characters are underdeveloped, leaving the reader with many unanswered questions.

Despite these limitations, The Fortune is a engrossing novel that caters to fans of suspense, horror, and Southern Gothic genres. Michael McDowell’s impeccable writing style, attention to detail, and unique storytelling make the novel a must-read for those looking for a thrilling ride.

A solid 4 out of 5 stars from Washington Post.