2019 New York City Big Book Award Winner - Horror
“This thought-provoking tale makes a strong argument for letting go of past pain.” –Kirkus Reviews
As a child Jimmy Lansford and his sister Kelly suffered crushing poverty, their father’s unexplained and frightening suicide, and their mother’s constant abuse and cruelty. Having grown to be a successful adult, Jimmy must contend with the sudden re-emergence of memories from his childhood in Oklahoma and unexplainable events occurring inside his own home. Is it more than memories that haunt Jimmy? Did his parents suffer from mental illness and addiction, or were they possessed by something even worse—and has that presence arrived to take Jimmy?
The first horror novel from acclaimed author and journalist Dustin McKissen explores the nature of hauntings, the ghosts from our past that haunt our present, and the unbreakable bond between siblings who learn early on they can only rely on each other.
|Publisher:||Black Rose Writing|
|Edition description:||First Printing ed.|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.35(d)|
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This definitely is not a horror story but one of hope, love and believing. With a tear in my eye I am grateful to have been able to read this story. So much emotion in a short novel. Bravo!
This novel portrays the tortured early childhood and psychotic break of Kenny Hanson, a motherless boy raised by a pedophiliac father. Follow the dedicated team of investigators as they race to find the perpetrator and the motive behind a shocking series of grisly murders across the state of Indiana. Be intrigued with the psyche of a rampaging serial killer. The drama outlines the parental abuse that created a monster out of an innocent child abused to the point of insanity.
Thank you NetGalley and Black Rose Writing for giving me this advanced readers copy. This was by no means my typical read. I decided seeing since it’s October I might as will branch out with a horror story. And this one certainly lived up to that in a sense. This book is about two siblings who have created a very strong bond. Their mother and father are drug attic’s and alcoholics. They are also abusive to each other and to the siblings. Jimmy, the brother, thought that things might get better after his father’s suicide. Oh how wrong he was. It seems that his mother didn’t have her husband to take anger out on she now took even more of it out on the children. This book goes between present time and past tense. With Jimmy all grown up in a family of his own where he has an excellent job living in an amazing neighborhood. Then it goes back in time to when Jimmy and his sister were young and the things that they had to survive. However in the present tense jimmy believes that he may be possessed. What we need to find out as a reader: Is he really possessed or is his childhood coming back to haunt him.
Lets start this off with the fact that this is not a horror story for me. This book is sad and heartwrenching, about a boy living in a horrible family with his sister, and surviving the best they can. Years later he has to face his childhood demons again. I did not expect this book to make me feel the way that it did. I didn't think that 160 pages would be enough to tell a story, let alone tell it well. I was wrong. Coming from a messed up family myself, this really captured the essence and the thoughts, and most of all that horrible survivors guild of being a child/teen in that situation, and the mark it leaves on a life. I highly recommend this one!
“It was terrifying to know nightmares didn’t wait for the sun to fade - or for sleep to come.” Jimmy and Kelly knew fear and uncertainty from a young age. Their parents fought regularly and violently, drank excessively and abused drugs. Living in poverty and neglected, Jimmy did whatever he could to protect his younger sister. When their father dies by suicide, their mother becomes increasingly abusive. “In the Lansford home, normal was not an option, and Jimmy faced two choices: Let life eat him and Kelly alive, or shoulder more of the burden than any child should.” Although he remains haunted by his childhood, Jimmy’s adult life is outwardly normal. He has a nice home, is employed and has a loving wife and children. Jimmy does everything he can to ensure his children never experience anything approximating what he and his sister did when they were children. “Things change, and not always for the better.” Jimmy’s daughter is now the same age his sister was when their father died and Jimmy’s carefully constructed world is coming undone. He begins to experience things he can’t explain as painful memories resurface. As this book was marketed as horror I expected to encounter lots of things that go bump in the night. Although there are supernatural elements to this story that I won’t explain because that would take us into spoiler territory, the main horror I experienced was as a result of more natural (if you can call them that) occurrences. Child abuse is its own horror and when you consider the legacy of childhood trauma, its impacts on the person who has experienced it and by association everyone who loves them, that’s true horror right there. PTSD and survivor’s guilt are explored in this book. Because the impacts of these are so pervasive it became difficult to distinguish whether specific events in this book were supernatural in origin or a symptom of one or both of these. This could irritate me in different circumstances but here it made me feel like I was getting a glimpse of what Jimmy was experiencing. I did wonder whether some of Jimmy’s experiences were dissociative in nature; another explanation was provided but I could make the case for both possibilities. Given some of the content of this book I expected to feel sad and hopeless overall but there was some light pushing back the shadows. Jimmy’s bond with his sister and his repeated attempts to protect her from the harshness of their lives was heartwarming. Detective Mike Carlisle, the only responsible adult in the Lansford kids’ lives, was someone I looked forward to spending time with. He modelled unconditional love and was a positive role model, particularly for Jimmy, whose life could have been vastly different without his influence. I was left with a couple of unanswered questions. Content warnings are included in my Goodreads review. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Black Rose Writing for the opportunity to read this book. I’m rounding up from 3.5 stars.