A Sickness in the Family

( 1 )

Overview

Meet the Ushers. The parents, Ted and Biddy. Grandma Martha. The three kids, William, Amy and Sam. Just a normal, middle-class family gathered around the table on Christmas Day. Until they start dying. Violent deaths. One by one. Is there a curse on their house, as a recently unearthed history of witchcraft in the area would suggest? Or has one member of the Usher clan declared open season on the rest? As secrets and resentments boil to the surface, it becomes clear that more than one Usher has a motive for ...
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Overview

Meet the Ushers. The parents, Ted and Biddy. Grandma Martha. The three kids, William, Amy and Sam. Just a normal, middle-class family gathered around the table on Christmas Day. Until they start dying. Violent deaths. One by one. Is there a curse on their house, as a recently unearthed history of witchcraft in the area would suggest? Or has one member of the Usher clan declared open season on the rest? As secrets and resentments boil to the surface, it becomes clear that more than one Usher has a motive for killing off the others. But in the end, the truth turns out to be far more shocking than anyone in this ill-fated family could have imagined.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Scottish crime novelist Mina, previously known in comics for a run on Hellblazer, provides a creepy, taut tale of family greed that leads to murder. At first the Ushers' squabbles over money, home renovations, and who will take care of grandma are the stuff of ordinary dysfunction. But after family members start dying under suspicious circumstances, it becomes clear there is evil at work. The Ushers' adopted son, Sam, tries to solve the mystery, uncovering unsavory family secrets and tales of witchcraft in the process. The sharp angles and high contrast of Italian artist Fuse's b&w illustrations create an appropriately dark atmosphere and fit well with the plot's abrupt turns. Readers will likely find their alliances shifting quickly from character to character all the way to the satisfying wrap up. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
“Denise Mina has crafted a perfectly twisted little tale that reveals the darkness and horror festering just beneath the surface of everyday life. And you think your family is messed up.” —Andy Diggle (The Losers)
 
"Cunning, deft, and deeply disturbing. Mina's work plays with your expectations and messes with your head, winding its way along a truly dark path to an ultimately inevitable conclusion that will leave you walking with its echoes for days to come."
—Greg Rucka (Patriot Acts, Whiteout) 
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—With strong echoes of Poe's classic "The Fall of the House of Usher," Mina has created a suspenseful tale of a haunted house, a dysfunctional family, and, ultimately, horror. Seen through the eyes of an adopted son, the story opens with adult Sam looking back on the life of this bizarre family consisting of his father, whose renovation project includes removing the stairwell, leaving a gaping hole in the hall. Ted Usher faces his wife Biddy's ongoing affair with their marriage therapist. The three children include Amy, who resents her father's refusal to assist her financially in starting her career; William, whose heroin addiction is revealed to the family; and Sam, obedient and caring but who is ignored and resented by all. Adding to the pressure, Biddy's aging mother, Martha, has come to live with them. Tensions increase as the house begins to fall apart during reconstruction, while simultaneously, the family unravels. Unexplained deaths, which may or may not be accidental; arguments; and dark secrets culminate in the horrific revelation of Martha's evil and twisted plot to bring the family down at the story's end. "This place" scrawled on the walls of the house will remind readers of Poe's phrase "the haunted palace." Stark black-and-white drawings further intensify the mood. This very dark tale is definitely for adults. Many of the situations and relationships as well as the excessive use of offensive language make it suitable for mature readers.—Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401210816
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Publication date: 10/19/2010
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,444,228
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Denise Mina
Denise Mina

Denise Mina is the author of The Dead Hour, Field of Blood, Deception, and the Garnethill trilogy, the first installment of which won her the John Creasey Memorial Prize for best first crime novel. She lives in Glasgow.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 25, 2011

    Read in seconds - not minutes or hours. SECONDS!

    I can't believe I spent $14.00 on a hardback comic book!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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