The Back Door of Midnight (Dark Secrets Series #5)

The Back Door of Midnight (Dark Secrets Series #5)

4.3 122
by Elizabeth Chandler
     
 

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Psychic...or psychotic?

Anna knows her family is crazy. But when she goes to visit her aunt and uncle for the summer and learns that her uncle’s charred body has been found, her life reaches a new level of insanity. Her erratic aunt’s “psychic” abilities are exaggerated by her grief, and have become borderline violent. Alone in an

Overview

Psychic...or psychotic?

Anna knows her family is crazy. But when she goes to visit her aunt and uncle for the summer and learns that her uncle’s charred body has been found, her life reaches a new level of insanity. Her erratic aunt’s “psychic” abilities are exaggerated by her grief, and have become borderline violent. Alone in an unfamiliar town, Anna struggles to pick up the pieces and establish any sense of normalcy. She desperately wants to trust Zack, the cute boy next door, but even he might know more about the incident than he is letting on.

But when Anna starts feeling an inexplicable pull to the site of her uncle’s murder, she begins to believe that her family’s supernatural gifts are real after all. Torn between loyalty and suspicion, Anna is certain of only one thing: she must discover who killed her uncle or she could be next….

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Chandler does a fantastic job of keeping readers on edge and creating a suspenseful mood and tone. This is an excellent stand-alone book that is sure to be popular."
- SLJ January 2011

"This book is a classic teen mystery/romance that may appeal to teens who were enthralled with the Twilight series. It is fast-paced, humorous, and light yet deals with some serious issues. Searching for your roots, dealing with dementia and mental illness, and finding independence are all touched upon in this third volume of the Dark Secrets series. The book is great for a short winter escape, or a long plane ride. It is a quick read with just enough suspense to keep you reading to solve the mystery. The characters are superficial but the storyline moves and is very timely. It is not the type of book you would write an English essay about, but it is great for a quick escape."—VOYA

VOYA - Ellen Frank
Anna returns to her childhood home to spend her summer with her uncle in Wisteria, Maryland, and to sort out the mystery of her life. When she arrives, she discovers her uncle is mysteriously murdered and her eccentric aunt may require more care than Anna can give. Anna's birth mother was a psychic and Anna wonders if she shares these talents. She meets the cute boy next door, Zack, and romance almost begins to bloom, but Anna's psychic abilities are beginning to get in her way. She has many mysteries to unravel and romance and murder do not make good companions. Who is responsible for her uncle's murder? Will she be next? Should she just return to Baltimore and give up on her aunt? This book is a classic teen mystery/romance that may appeal to teens who were enthralled with the Twilight series. It is fast-paced, humorous, and light yet deals with some serious issues. Searching for your roots, dealing with dementia and mental illness, and finding independence are all touched upon in this third volume of the Dark Secrets series. The book is great for a short winter escape, or a long plane ride. It is a quick read with just enough suspense to keep you reading to solve the mystery. The characters are superficial but the storyline moves and is very timely. It is not the type of book you would write an English essay about, but it is great for a quick escape. Reviewer: Ellen Frank
Children's Literature - Cara Chancellor
Days before embarking on a visit to an aunt and uncle she has not seen in years, Anna is pulled into a nightmare of raging fire, dark trees, and her uncle's voice telling her to "be careful." Nerves, Anna thinks, until she arrives in small-town Wisteria and learns Uncle Will's body has just been found in the woods...in the trunk of a burning car. Anna is left to spend the summer with her Aunt Iris—who is widely regarded as psychic, psychotic, or some mixture of the two—and to try to piece together the circumstances of her uncle's murder. In a town so small that everyone knows everything but no one talks, Anna is unsure who to trust. Zack, the beautiful boy next door? Elliot Gill, the man who was rejected by Anna's birth mother before she, too, died mysteriously? Or Aunt Iris, who may have all the answers among the voices in her head? The closer Anna gets to the truth, the more she realizes she must indeed "be careful," not only of whoever murdered her uncle, but also of her own developing psychic abilities. Perhaps the greatest compliment one could pay to Chandler's Anna is that she and her progressive ability are both intriguing and realistic. Anna is far from a psychic prodigy, and in fact she relies on her own intuition and detective work more often than visions. All the while, Chandler draws the reader ever further into the strange, dark world of Wisteria, until he/she is almost as trapped by ghosts from the past as Aunt Iris is inside her own mind. This is a difficult book to put down, and one that will leave the reader guessing right up until its electrifying conclusion. Reviewer: Cara Chancellor
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—When Anna O'Neill Kirkpatrick receives an invitation from her great-uncle Will asking her to visit him and her great-aunt Iris as soon as possible, she goes willingly. She had lived with them as a child after her mother was killed in a robbery, but was then put in foster care and later adopted by her loving foster mother. When she arrives, she finds that her uncle was killed in a fire, that the perpetrator has not been caught, and that her aunt is either senile or crazy. Anna sets out on her own to investigate the murder and discovers her family history in the process. She soon learns that some family secrets are to die for. Chandler does a fantastic job of keeping readers on edge and creating a suspenseful mood and tone. This is an excellent stand-alone book that is sure to be popular.—Sherry Rampey, Gaston Branch Library, SC

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442406261
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Publication date:
11/16/2010
Series:
Dark Secrets Series , #5
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
299
Sales rank:
319,833
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

one

IT BEGAN AFTER midnight with a low hum, an electric buzz like that of a bass guitar string. The sound grew louder and I tried to cover my head with a pillow, but my arms, heavy with sleep, wouldn’t move.

I struggled to sit up; I was paralyzed. Frightened, I tried to call out, but my mouth wouldn’t move. An odd sensation began in my feet and traveled up my body, each nerve ending tingling with electric energy. Stop! I thought. Please stop!

Anna. Let go.

It was a woman’s voice that spoke to me, a familiar voice, but I didn’t know where or when I had heard it. Years ago, I thought. Struggling to recall the person, I momentarily forgot my fear.

The vibrations stopped, and I stood up. I was surrounded by darkness. In the distance an orange light shone. As I moved toward it, I heard a confusion of voices, people talking and laughing. The orange light flickered, and I heard crackling sounds. I could smell now—acrid smoke. I was at a fire.

An object whistled close to my ears and exploded, glass against metal. A siren wailed. I heard feet—heard, rather than saw clearly, people running, panicking. I panicked too. I didn’t know who these people were or which way to turn, but instinct told me to get away from there. Then I heard someone else calling my name, a man this time. My uncle was calling to me from the fire.

Anna, be careful.

There were more sirens, the wailing growing closer.

Anna, be careful.

Uncle Will? I answered, moving in the direction of his voice.

The fire surrounded me. I could see the flames like clothing on me, yet I felt no pain, no burning. I reached out my hand, then pulled it back in horror. I had seen through it. I slowly put out my left hand, then my right: They were transparent. Was I dead? Was it possible to die and not know it?

Help! I called out. Help! Uncle Will! I want to go home.

I was plucked out of the ghostly fire, reeled in like a fish. Opening my eyes, I found myself in bed at home. The two beds next to mine were empty.

“Grace? Claire?”

Silence.

Then I saw my suitcase and remembered: The twins, Jack, and Mom had left early that morning. I was alone. Next to my suitcase was a plastic bag filled with summer clothes, enough for two months away. I had been dreaming—obviously—and yet I would have sworn that I had actually heard Uncle Will’s voice. A letter from him lay on top of my suitcase.

I knew the letter by heart, but I climbed out of bed and carried it to the window, pushing back the curtain, unfolding the paper to read by the orange light of a streetlamp.

May 23

Dear Anna,

Would you visit us this summer? The sooner the
better. Aunt Iris is doing poorly, and there are
things I must tell you about your mother and our
family. I want to do so while I am still
clear-minded.

Uncle Will

My uncle’s invitation had come as a surprise. Eighteen years ago, he and his sister, Iris, both single, had taken in my birth mother, who was pregnant with me. Joanna died in a violent robbery when I was three, and I continued to live with my great-aunt and great-uncle for two more years, before I was adopted by Kathryn, the only person I think of as “Mom.”

Since then, Great-Uncle Will had stayed in touch with me by traveling to Baltimore once a year. He didn’t like cities, but liked communicating by telephone and computer even less. I loved him and he loved me; still our conversations were awkward.

I never heard from Great-Aunt Iris. When I was older it was explained to me that she was not the most stable person in the world—apparently she heard voices and claimed to be psychic. Until now I had never been asked back to the O’Neill home on Maryland’s Eastrn Shore—perhaps to protect me from bad memories of my birth mother’s death.

The truth was, I remembered Joanna only through her photos. My family was Jack, age seven; Grace and Claire, six; and our dog, Rose—all of us adopted by Mom, living in a skinny brick town house.

There were lots of days I had dreamed of escaping our crowded home; now, having achieved a college scholarship that would allow me to do that, I was getting sentimental over sticky hugs, dog hair, even the sharp little Barbie shoes and Matchbox cars left in my bed. I wanted to spend the summer with my family, but I felt I owed it to Uncle Will, and maybe to Aunt Iris, to visit.

Besides, I was curious. With my brain crammed full of chemistry and calculus, world history and lit, maybe it was time to learn something never asked on the SATs: who I was.

© 2010 Mary Claire Helldorfer

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Chandler is a pseudonym for Mary Claire Helldorfer. She is the author of the Kissed by an Angel and Dark Secrets series. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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The Back Door of Midnight (Dark Secrets Series #5) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 123 reviews.
ravengirl65 More than 1 year ago
This book was sooooooo good that it gave me the chills. It is a very great mystery but also a little romance involved. The perfect combination. You should go ahead and check it out now. This book inspired me to get more books from this author. Great author. But seriously it is so good that i literally laid on my bedroom floor reading it for hours!
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Wheres number 3 and 4??????
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If unlike any of the dark secrets series, youll luv this one.... definitely a must read.
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ParaHorseGirl More than 1 year ago
Loved it :)
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It had me on my toes till the very end. My fave character was Anna and Zach. I love their interactions with each other. I wish Elizabeth Chandler would write another book to this one. She is an amazing author and I love all her books.
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Great read!
audrey_elizabeth More than 1 year ago
Introduction This book, The Back Door of Midnight, is a very heartfelt and mysterious story. Anna gets a letter from her uncle asking if she¿d come up to his house for the summer. When she gets there she has found out a horrible tragedy has happened and is sad and so very confused at the same time. With the help of a new ¿friend¿ Zack she answers the unsolved mystery not even police knew. Description and summary of main points This story is about a girl named Anna who gets a letter from her uncle saying he¿d like for her to come spend the summer with him and her aunt. The man and were not married but related by blood. When Anna arrives she had not been confronted about the tragedy, along with any of her family. In her distraught time she meets a boy who helps her out very much and he also, helps her solve this mystery even the police couldn¿t figure out. Evaluation When they find out what happen it¿s a shock to all. But this book shows how they handle it and how most everyone should handle it. Especially without any notice of what is going on and not knowing what to suspect. Conclusion This novel is very suspenseful and scary. While not knowing what is going to happen you also can¿t put the book down. Your final review This book was fantastic! I suggest all people to read it for sure! It¿s almost 400 pages so I suggest it only for probably 7th-9th grade. It¿s definitely a must read for all people!
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