Customer Reviews for

Whistling In the Dark

Average Rating 4.5
( 81 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 81 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 5
  • Posted December 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    POWERFUL!

    This is a wonderful story and a teaching guide, in story form, for children and parents as a preventative measure. Kagen explores the uncomfortable subject matter,that of predators preying on innocent children, with warmth and wit, to create this heartwarming, endearing story. Expertly written from a child's point of view, the characters are real, believable and charming. A POWERFUL PIECE OF WORK! You will live this story, as I did and find yourself chuckling one minute and wiping tears from your eyes the next. JUST BEAUTIFUL!

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 19, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com

    It's 1959, and in ten short years Sally O'Malley has had a very busy life, both real and imagined. Two years ago her daddy died in a car accident and left Sally, her mother, her little sister, Troo, and her older half-sister, Nell. Shortly after her daddy died, Sally and family moved into the city of Milwaukee from their farm. It wasn't long before her mother met Hall and he became her third husband. Now her mother is sick and has to go to the hospital, and nobody knows how long she'll be gone. Nell is too busy with her boyfriend to pay much attention to her younger sisters. Hall is taking his solace in alcohol and other women. Which leaves Sally to take care of Troo. Since she promised Daddy she would look after her, that's exactly what she intends to do.<BR/><BR/>It's pretty hard to watch, take care of, and try to raise a little girl when you're still one yourself. Especially when you're on the loose for a whole summer and you don't know where your next bath, much less next meal, is going to come from. Add in the rumors of a serial killer who's after children... Between their real problems and Sally's overactive imagination, this summer will be anything but dull. Making it through the summer is only the beginning.<BR/><BR/>This a book with so many different levels. It's the story of a girl who is forced to take the first step away from childhood. It's the story of a damaged family. It's the story of women who don't know their own strength. It's a story of the underlying terror of a murderer, and at the same time a story of freedom. It's a story of a simpler time. Underneath all of that, it is the story of a city.<BR/><BR/>The characters in this novel are strong and well-written. The plot is interesting, and takes more than a few surprising twists and turns. The story is actually extremely plausible for the time frame, back when people didn't lock their doors and neighborhoods took care of their own. <BR/><BR/>The part that touched me the most though was the amazing ability with which Ms. Kagen has managed to evoke the feeling of the time and place. I grew up in Milwaukee (I swear I had no idea), granted it was a few decades later, but the feeling was almost exactly the same. I don't know how else to explain it, but reading this book felt like going home.<BR/><BR/>A multi-layered book that more than delivers on all levels. For me, it was worth it the first time, and will continue to be so again and again.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting

    In 1959 in Milwaukee ten years old Sally O'Malley believes that a child killer is coming for her and her younger sister Troo. She believes she has no one to keep her or Troo safe as their dad is dead, their mom is in the hospital, their stepfather is an alcoholic, and their older sister Nell is too involved with her boyfriend. Sally also feels that their neighbor police officer David Rasmussen killed Junie Piaskowski and Sara Heinemann because he has a picture of the former on his wall.-------------- As she had vowed to her daddy on his deathbed, she will protect Troo at all costs. If that means dying the frightened courageous Sally knows a promise is a promise. She and Troo begin their own brand of preadolescent investigation with the objective to prevent David from killing them. Sally will learn the truth, but it is a bigger shocker than if the cop was a homicidal pedophile.--------------- This investigative historical thriller is more a cautionary coming of age tale than an amateur sleuth pedophile serial killer chiller as the mystery is at best loose and used more to enable readers to better understand what Sally and Troo are thinking. Sally makes the story line work as an every child in any time period vulnerable to predators. She needs to keep her deathbed vow to her daddy even if it means her death. Readers will obtain a feel for Milwaukee when the baseball Braves still played there, but it is the cleverly developed warning that children think differently that makes Lesley Kagen¿s tale a fine read.------------------ Harriet Klausner

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    BEAUTIFULLY DONE!!!

    This is a beautiful story weaving the uncomfortable predators, preying on innocent children, subject matter with warmth and wit to serve as a powerful tool to educate. This is powerful, wonderful, heartwarming, endearing and charming!!!! There aren't enough stars for this one, in my book!!!! A must read for all!!!!

    I also recommend, ROSEFLOWER CREEK, by J.L. Mills and EXPLOSION IN PARIS, by Linda Masemore Pirrung....two more winners that deserve more than 5 stars!!!!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2007

    What an amazing read!

    This novel pulls on your heartstrings and teases your mind all at the same time. Kagen did a miraculous job of interlacing heart-felt moments with heart-pounding mystery!! I truly identified with so many of the characters. I laughed and I cried. This is a that you can't put down, but still try to pace yourself so that it never ends. If her debut was this good, I can't wait to see what Kagen comes up with next!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    WHISTLING IN THE DARK Lesley Kagen

    I absolutely adored this book. It is te story of every hometown in USA. The characters are very well developed and extremely recognizable. I found myself putting childhood friends faces to the various characters. OMG Sally O'Malley could have been me!! Even though this is a murder mystery/child molestation story, it is handled veery nicely -- not gory or erotic. I could not stop reading even when it was 3 AM. I have recommended this book to all of my friends.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing, wonderful, special read!

    This amazing, wonderful, endearing story will tug at your heart and the plot will keep your mind reeling until the last page. The plot is grave, but the author manages to weave enough wit, warmth, and great spirit into this story to make it an uplifting and emotional read.

    Set in 1959, in Milwaukee, the story follows two tough little girls, the O'Malley girls, through an unpromising summer. Their mother is in the hospital fighting for her life. Their step-father has abandoned them for booze and another woman and their older sister is too wrapped up in her boyfriend and her teenage life to take care of them properly. The neighborhood is no longer safe, not after two young girls were found murdered after being sexually molested. Sally is convinced she's going to be his third victim.

    There is so much more than this. I was enthralled all the way through with this delightful, moving, poignant book! Don't miss it!

    Other wonderful books that left a HUGE impression on me: ROSEFLOWER CREEK, EXPLOSION IN PARIS, SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME, REDEEMING LOVE.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Whistling in the Dark

    I found it particularly interesting how the title was referenced with that said, it is a nickname, as most of the characters have in this story and how each name came to be is not given right out the gate and you had to wait patiently throughout the book as they were reveled, if at all? With such a mass of books and titles out there why did I choose this one? First, I was cleaning my room and saw 2 book titles written on the back of a small piece of scrap paper from quite some time ago. Second, it was on our past book club selection list. The way I see it if it's on the list even if unpicked it must be good and as with this one I just open the book and begin to read without any idea what the book is about. This can have its pro's and con's. I was hugely amused right away by the era and the setting. All the places the girls visited I knew of, I could place myself on that exact street as I grew up and lived there as well so I would get excited when she would reference specific things that I either long forgotten about or is no longer there. As with time, this taking place in the 50's, so does change. not just in our surroundings but how we live our lives today. This book really made me think and the whole time I'm reading waiting for the story to either start, pick up, move on, get to the point in which I needed to remind my self of patience. These girls demonstrated great patience and bravery with every curve ball thrown at them. You did what needed to be done back then and there. You had to stand up for yourself as no one was going to do it for you and that displays confidence, self esteem. I bet those girls grew up and became doctors, lawyers etc. anything they set their mind to. I must run along now as the street lights just came on so I need to go in the house and get ready for bed.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    Brilliant

    My mom gave me this book sometime ago and I finally found it in the bottom of a drawer. Started reading just out of bordem one day and instantly fell in love. From the beginning the author has instantly drawn you into her characters and into the story. A friend of mine saw me reading it one day and decided to buy it to read along with me, then another friend and another...we all loved the book and it has brought us to start our own book club! I still daydream sometimes of Sally and Troo O'malley and what they went through and how they prevailed. Again such a great book. Can't wait to read more by this author.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    In the Child's Viewpoint

    The most interesting and fun part of this book was that it was written in a child's point of view. Sally O'Malley is a very clever and smart child who sometimes gets things a little mixed up. Since the book is written in a young girl's voice, you find yourself trying to outwit her. You think so many of her perceptions are not quite right. And, you second guess her. She manages to put herself into precarious situations and you worry about her. She is delightful! She keeps you reading! It was so hard to put this one down! I enjoyed every page! Some of the slang she uses is not always politically correct, but, if you were a child of the 50's or 60's you remember hearing the same slang when you were younger. And, she is never mean or degrading and loves everyone for the most part. And, the people she doesn't like are just not very likeable. This was a fun reminder of a different time when things seemed simpler...more black and white with much less grey. And, I have to say, I grew up in a big city and I know that even though people say that there was not as much danger when we were growing up they are just plain wrong! I remember some really scary things happening in our neighborhood. Sally and her friends have a very scary summer and Sally is just the person to tell about their experiences.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The characters stayed with me

    Several days after finishing Lesley Kagen's fine first novel I'm still thinking about the people in it. She did a good job of creating interesting and memorable, if not totally believable, characters. <BR/><BR/>Troo and Sally, the two pre-adolescent girls at the heart of the story, are colorful and conniving, which is a nice departure from the sweetness and innocence we see far too often in coming-of-age fictional females. <BR/><BR/>Ethel is clearly the author's favorite (my paperback copy includes an interview with Kagen in which she says as much), and it's hard not to develop a strong affection for her. A woman in her situation, in the segregated Milwaukee of 1959, would probably not talk and behave as she does. It's unlikely an adult would be that open about sharing family secrets with neighborhood children. She's just not believable here. Neither is Dave, the cop. He's just a little too good. But they are both important to the story, and I found myself rooting for them despite myself.<BR/><BR/>As others have mentioned here, there are some nice details about mid-century Milwaukee that will bring back memories for a lot of readers Vliet Street, the Braves, Lake Michigan, and the Milwaukee County Zoo are all lovingly depicted. Samson the gorilla was a huge draw, definitely the zoo's most fascinating attraction throughout my childhood, and Sally's affection for him is totally deserved. <BR/><BR/>I found myself really bothered, however, by the fact that Samson's name was spelled incorrectly (as "Sampson") throughout the novel. Why did the author do this? Was it because of some copyright concern? Or was it simply a case of editorial neglect? If so, someone didn't do their homework. It undermines my respect for an otherwise promising author.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2008

    Gotta Love the O'malley Sisters!

    I really enjoyed reading this story told from a child's perspective. While in the background there is a child molester and murderer loose, there is also every day life that these children are facing. Parts of the book are sad, however the narrator makes you laugh out loud several times. I enjoyed how every bad smell was somehow compared to Dr. Sullivan's breath and the letter that Sally wrote to Hall near the end of the book was priceless!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2007

    wonderful book!

    I really enjoyed this book. It was very easy to read and you couldn't help being drawn into this book. The book was about two sisters, Sally and Troo. The story is told by Sally, a character I really learned to love and her little sister. At times the book was sad and I felt so sorry for the two sisters but then by the time the book ended it had the kind of ending that I liked. I have never read this author before, and would gladly read another one of her books. I would highly recommend this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2007

    Great Summer Reading!

    This book was a unanimous favorite in a group that seldom agrees about the books read! Not being from the Milwaukee area, we found the characters, neighborhood descriptions and plots to be universally appealing and believable to all. We loved Sally, Troo and Ethel's characters!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2007

    Whodunnit

    This is a sweet story about 2 young sisters who survive a rough summer on their own, while their mother is hospitalized with hepatitis, and their drunken stepfather spirals out of control. All of this happens at the same time that a murdering child molester strikes in their neighborhood. The author does an amazing job of bringing this neighborhood to life--by the time the book ended, I felt like I lived on their block! The story also is an excellent mystery, that keeps you guessing until the end.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2007

    I Could NOT put it down!

    This is a standout novel for a first time author. This book captivated me and I am passing around my copy to all I know. I could hear Sally in my mind as I read the book, that is how well she develops this character.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2007

    WOW!

    What an enchanting read! The characters, especially ten year old, Sally, 'the narrator', and her sister, Troo, were so endearing. This book is laugh 'til you cry funny, poignant, sad and supportive. The characters predicament is unpredictable and the plot is deceptively complex. One of the best debuts I've ever read. Ms. Kagen is destined for greatness.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2007

    When is your next book coming out!!

    I have to say that I love to read and this book is awesome!! I live in New York and on my commute to work this is what I do, read. I'm just not able to put this book down. I've missed my stop on the train two times because of this book!! I didn't mind, I had more time to read. Love the character Sally, she is adorable. Can't wait for your next book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2009

    Well written, loved the characters.

    I really enjoyed reading this, the characters were fun and easy to get involved with.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2014

    This sopme good stuff you know. Got some deep stuff in it. Reall

    This sopme good stuff you know. Got some deep stuff in it. Really good plot twist in it. I really enjoyed the characters and everything in it. You didn't really know the characters from the beginning. And throughout the story the author revealed different things about each character and I really liked that.

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