Kate Fox and the Three Kings by Grace Pulliam
I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Kate Fox is the social leper amongst the notorious Blood of Christ cult, whom Kate affectionately refers to as W.H.O.R.E. (We Hate Outsiders, (Your) Religion, and Everyone). While most 17-year-olds prepare for college after their high school graduation, Kate is wedged between obnoxious picketing, spreading God’s hatred like confetti, and her host mother’s relentless body shaming. She finds herself the target of the church’s cruelty as something wicked stirs behind the pews and courses through the veins of the church’s most beloved members. When one of Kate’s only friends, the pastor’s son, starts acting strange, she realizes that W.H.O.R.E. is safe no longer.
After Kate is attacked during a long day of funeral picketing, she discovers that the cult members are not the only folks with power, and she escapes into Daniel Boone’s National Forest, garnering an unexpected ally while trekking through the wilderness. Kate’s grandparents are dead, so she heads for her last option: a tiny Florida town, covered in Spanish moss and home to her aunt and cousin. Under her cousin Billie’s direction, Kate attempts to forget the past six years living in a cult, and braces herself for a normal college experience: skipping classes, learning how to shotgun beers, and navigating her thorny attraction towards her boss at the Olde Time Soda Fountain, a peculiar and mutilated man named Hemming, but crippling insecurity and ancient lore thwart Kate’s transition into normalcy.
The same evil that resided within Brushy Fork, Kentucky, has followed Kate to Florida, threatening her happiness and the safety of her family. Kate must rise as the Final Fox if she wishes to escape the tendrils of W.H.O.R.E., and every Fox is required to play the ancient and deadly Three Kings Game in order to harness their power. Lose and die. Win and live. It’s time to play.