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review 2018-03-02 11:20
The Girl Who Would Speak For The Dead by Paul Elwork
The Girl Who Would Speak for the Dead - Paul Elwork

Emily Stewart is the girl who claims to stand between the living and the dead. During the quiet summer of 1925, she and her brother, Michael, are thirteen-year-old twins-privileged, precocious, wandering aimlessly around their family's estate. One day, Emily discovers that she can secretly crack her ankle in such a way that a sound appears to burst through the stillness of midair. Emily and Michael gather the neighborhood children to fool them with these "spirit knockings."  Soon, however, this game of contacting the dead creeps into a world of adults still reeling from World War I. When the twins find themselves dabbling in the uncertain territory of human grief and family secrets, everything spins wildly out of control.





Loosely inspired by the true story of the Fox sisters (whose actions kickstarted the 19th century Spiritualism Movement), author Paul Elwork mixes things up a bit by telling a similar story but from a brother / sister perspective. At the novel's start, in the year 1925, Emily and Michael are thirteen year old twins living on the family's East Coast estate of Ravenwood. After losing their father in World War 1, the children are often left to find their own ways to keep themselves occupied throughout a day. 


"Your father," her mother said, "was always interested in the things beneath things."


Emily nodded at this. "Isn't everyone?"


"Not as much as you might think."


Michael is described as a bookish loner who "before his 10th birthday had discovered that he could not tolerate most people well," while sister Emily is creative, curious, and inventive. Emily becomes captivated by the family story of Great Aunt Regina, who died in the late 1800s (only 16 years old) when she had a fall near the estate's riverbank. She's now said to haunt Ravenwood. Around this time of Emily's budding interest in the paranormal, she also discovers a trick where she can make her ankle crack on command. This becomes the basis for Emily and Michael's "spirit knocking" gatherings, initially held just the neighborhood kids but quickly catches on with the local adults as well. 


Michael becomes the team's hype man, crafting ghost stories inspired by all his reading. When they get into doing readings for the towsfolk, the twins claim to use the ghost of Great Aunt Regina as their spirit guide. Once adults mourning loved ones lost to WW1 start seeking out the twins for solace, what starts as a game soon turns to something quite a bit more serious. 


Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who became quite a prominent follower of Spiritualism, gets a brief mention in this book. In regards to the paranormal theme, there is nothing particularly spooky or scary here, which is largely why my reading experience was ultimately somewhat disappointing. While there is a definite poetic flair to Elwork's writing style, the overall tone just had steady note of sadness throughout the whole plot. 

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review 2017-01-31 19:54
Not his best
Dead Girl Walking by Chris Brookmyre (2015-07-02) - Chris Brookmyre

Having recently read and enjoyed Want you Gone and Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre I was hoping for more of the same fast prose, good characters and enticing story line in Dead Girl Walking. Jack Parlabane, ace investigative reporter, is asked to help find the beautiful and talented Heike Gunn the mesmerizing band leader of the rock band Savage Earth Heart. What I did enjoy about this story was learning a little about Savage Earth Heart and travelling with them as they performed all over Europe in anticipation of the big American Tour. The author shows, in a colourful way, how the band lived and worked with each other on a day to day basis and the petty arguments and jealousies that frequently occurred as band members fought for self recognition. Monica Halcrow, classically trained violinist and the latest recruit, becomes besotted with Gunn at the expense of the relationship with her boyfriend Keith. This however could not sustain a story that was rather devoid of ideas as we waited to see if the charismatic Gunn could be found safe and well by our hero Parlabane.

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review 2016-09-25 22:45
Living Dead Girl
Living Dead Girl - Elizabeth Scott

I felt that this novel was okay. After reading the novel’s synopsis, I expected more emotions and more energy to occur within its pages but after reading it, I felt that the novel had more of an even tone and I have mixed feeling about this. I understand how the main character felt after being held all those years being locked in her current condition but things were changing, I thought that would change her too.  

The novel is told through the eyes of Alice who had been abducted when she was ten. Now five years later, Alice realizes that things are changing. Ray wants something else in his life and he expects Alice to help him achieve it.   I felt that Alice was numb as she told her story. She was living with Ray and people in their neighborhood kept to themselves so no one questioned her existence. When Ray tells Alice what he needs, I was shocked and then I wondered how she would respond. As the novel progressed, the lack of energy within it created a hardship for me. I wanted to know the ending but I also wanted to abandon the book. I liked how the novel finished out; I just wished it would have ended with some gusto.

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review 2016-08-26 20:20
fun fast read but nothing special
The Last Dead Girl - Harry Dolan

One night David Malone needs to have a break from his girlfriend Sophie when he finds out she has been unfaithful to him. He decides to go for a drive and meets by accident the beautiful and unpredictable Jane. There follows a steamy romantic interlude and when Jane is discovered dead Malone embarks on a course to reveal her killer and in so doing unleashes a spiders web of deceit, mayhem and murder. This is a fast fun read but with a list of characters I felt little sympathy for and a story line that is a little too pretentious and extreme to be taken seriously. I was pleased that I was able to require this book at a reduced "kindle" price (for a very limited period) as the present cost on Amazon is exorbitant (slightly under £12) and perhaps therefore a more appropriate description should be "highway robbery"

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review 2016-02-01 03:48
Living Dead Girl - Elizabeth Scott

...Yowza. This book is heavy and, despite what the blurb on the back says, pretty damn hopeless. It's the story of a girl kidnapped and held captive by a pedophile for five years. That should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect. It's graphic and hard to read. It's quite short, less than 200 sparse pages, but I had to put it down several times, just because it's so emotionally wracking. 


I actually read this once before, years ago for an Young Adult lit class. I picked it up again after seeing someone talking about it online. I was surprised that I had completely misremembered the ending. In my mind, I had rewritten a much more hopeful outcome, and maybe because of that, I felt myself more deeply affected by the story this time around.

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