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William Bellman is just ten years old when he commits an act that will haunt him the rest of his life—the killing of an innocent rook. In adulthood, William is building the perfect life for himself with a gorgeous wife and a brood of children, as he works his way up at his family's mill. But he and his family are stalked by creepy black birds. Tragedies slowly begin piling up—first friends and distant relatives, then his wife and children. At each funeral, he spies a man wearing all black. While waiting for his final child to die, William visits the grave of his wife and runs into the mysterious Mr. Black. William enters into a Faustian bargain with Mr. Black, saving his daughter and resulting in the development of Bellman & Black, a funeral emporium. VERDICT While billed as a ghost story, Setterfield's (The Thirteenth Tale) sophomore effort seems more a gothic psychological study with the dark vibe of an Edgar Allan Poe tale. Lovers of true ghost stories may be disappointed, but fans of Setterfield's best-selling debut will snatch this one up. [See Prepub Alert, 5/13/13.]—Chelsie Harris, San Diego Cty. Lib.