Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Little Girls - By Ronald Malfi - Effective ghost story

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Laurie Genarro's estranged father has passed away, an apparent suicide, and Laurie, her husband, Ted, and ten-year-old daughter, Susan have traveled from Connecticut to Maryland to deal with the estate.

When they pull up to the house on Annapolis Road Susan comments, "It looks like a haunted house."  Little did they know what they'd find.

Little Girls is much more than a haunted house or a ghost story. A literary horror tale filled with lovely prose.  "Beyond the curved bay windows, Laurie saw Ted and Susan galloping across the green lawn.  They raced along the fence and up the lawn's slight incline to where the trees grew denser and the wild blackberry bushes and honeysuckle exploded like fireworks from the ground .  The tree limbs that overhung the fence waved sleepily in the breeze, throwing moving shadows against the mossy pickets."

In addition to memories of her young life in the house when her parents were together, the setting also brought reminders of the dead girl, Sadie Russ.

Little Girls is a slow build, giving up its secrets sparingly, providing plenty of questions. Who is the little girl next door?  What is the mystery of the belvedere room?  Did Laurie's father really jump from the window of the same room or was what really happened much more sinister?

The creepiness factor increased greatly at about the midway point and includes one of the most disgusting scenes I've ever read and I'm not referring to the draining of the well which made my skin crawl.

Malfi provides some real "Oh wow!" moments for the reader and has an ending that may leave you less than happy.

Little Girls  is something special and will be available in paperback, e-book and audio formats.  Look for it on June 30th, 2015 from Kensington Books.


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