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A Bookaholic, Pro-life, Pro-Family, Pro-Oxford Comma, Catholic (with Asperger's) who reads and writes as her obsession. I've been reading over 400 books a year lately. These are my ramblings on some of the books I read. To read about all the books I read and comment on, visit me at LibraryThing or Goodreads.

I've been blogging since 2007 and at this point (July 2015) am trying my hand at turning the theme of this blog towards mystery, thriller, and crime, fiction and nonfiction. I have some special interest topics and categories within this broad genre which include (but are not limited to) serial killers, scandi-crime, Victorian history and historicals, history of the criminally insane and asylums, psychopathology, death, funerary practices and burial, corpses, true crime and anything dealing with the real life macabre, or that portrayed in fiction.

I also read a short story a day from various collections, sometimes anthologies othertimes collections of a single author's work. These reviews are also posted here and while they are of mixed genre the mystery, thriller, horror, gothic and macabre often appear within their pages as well.


I also blog about
graphic novels and manga on a separate BLOG.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

157. Haunted by Barbara Haworth-Attard


Haunted by Barbara Haworth-Attard

Pages: 273
Ages: 14+
Finished: Aug. 28, 2009
First Published: Aug. 18, 2009 (Canada only)
Genre: paranormal, thriller, mystery, magical realism
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

Dee spread feed over the ground, calling, "chick, chick."



Reason for Reading: I love a good ghost story. I received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada. Qualifies for the Canadian Book Challenge. Qualifies for the RIP IV Challenge.

Comments: Set in the Bruce Peninsula area of Ontario at the time that the soldier's had returned home from WWI, Dee and her Grandmother live in a small cabin at the outskirts of a rural town. Grandmother is the town's midwife and also the one people come to for "medicines" when they are sick. The town does have a doctor, has for some years and business isn't what it used to be but some folks still would rather trade goods with Grandmother than pay cash to the doctor. Fourteen year-old Dee has been raised by Grandmother as her own mother ran off with a travelling show when Dee was only a few months old, her father is unknown. Otherwise the only special thing about Dee is that she sees dead people.

Her 'gift' which she keeps secret even from her Grandmother tests her endurance when a former friend of hers' bones are found up on the mountain approximately four years old. Everyone thought she'd run away with a boy at the time and now people are remembering other girls who 'disappeared' in the past. It isn't until a new girl is found dead that a Detective from Toronto is sent for to find this serial killer in their midst.

This is the first book I've read by Barbara Haworth-Attard, though she's written many juvenile and YA novels. I highly enjoyed it. I found the serial killer mystery to be tightly written and fast paced with plenty of clues but not easy to figure out at all. I had it narrowed down to two suspects from the start but wavered between them for a while. I think the intended audience will have a great time with this mystery.

The supernatural element was an added bonus to an already strong straight-forward thriller plot. The spooky ghostly episodes certainly added to the sense of fear surrounding the plot. This brings about a second theme that runs through the book of Dee wondering why she sees these spirits and wonders about her Grandmother's special gifts and why her mother ran away and has never come back. Overall, a very intricate plot that carries many threads and combines the paranormal with reality with the ease of an accomplished writer.

I enjoyed everything about this book. Dee is a fun character, fully developed, as is her Grandmother who has a hard shell that Dee occasionally cracks and sees underneath. The only thing I found disappointing is the stereotypical use of a mentally challenged character (which appeared to be downs syndrome to me), who was called "retard" by the nastier folks in town. This character is introduced first but as soon as the girl's bones are found it's obvious that stereotypically the "retard" is going to come under suspicion of the murders. I expected it from the get go. And indeed the author fell into that trap. It's typical of the time period but something a little less obvious would have been more original.

Otherwise, I read this book throughout a day, thought it was a brilliant serial killer mystery for this age group and loved the paranormal aspect. Recommended!


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2 comments:

  1. What a great review. I love that time period and to have a novel written in the period that is a ghost story/thriller? Perfect!

    I'm glad you enjoyed it. Love the cover for the book too.

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  2. This sounds fantastic! I've added it to my list. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete