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Friday, October 25, 2013

Quick Reviews

The Ghost Man    by Michael J. McCann is not part of the series featuring Donaghue and Stainer which I so enjoy.  It is a stand alone novel about a man...who sees ghosts.  Yeah.  Title says it all.

Book Description:      First there was the car accident that claimed his beloved wife. Then came the grueling months of recuperation from his injuries. Now his constant companions are ghosts seeking worldly release. His new home is haunted by the ghost of a young girl demanding his help. His friends and neighbours are under attack by strange, destructive forces. Who is the Angry Man who haunts his dreams … and what does the demon controlling him want of Simon Guthrie?

Although I saw some very positive reviews, this one didn't work so well for me, but I look forward to more of the Donaghue/Stainer series.

Supernatural.  Revised edition 2013.  Print length:  377 pages.

The Funeral Owl by Jim Kelly is one of the Philip Dryden series.  

Book Description:  When a reader contacts local newspaper The Crow to report a rare sighting of the Boreal or so-called 'Funeral' owl, the paper's editor Philip Dryden has a sense of foreboding. For the Funeral Owl is said to be an omen of death. 

It's already proving to be one of the most eventful weeks in The Crow's history. The body of a Chinese man has been discovered hanging from a cross in a churchyard in Brimstone Hill in the West Fens. The inquest into the deaths of two tramps found in a flooded ditch has unearthed some shocking findings. A series of metal thefts is plaguing the area. And PC Stokely Powell has requested Dryden's help in solving a ten-year-old cold case: a series of violent art thefts culminating in a horrifying murder.

As Dryden investigates, he uncovers some curious links between the seemingly unrelated cases: it would appear the sighting of the Funeral Owl is proving prophetic in more ways than one.

I read The Coldest Blood, another of the Philip Dryden series,  by Kelly several years ago, so I had a little of the background in mind when I started this one.  Nevertheless, the first chapter or two had me wondering what was going on.  A confusing beginning that cleared up eventually.  

Although I did move from confused to find my feet in the novel, I have to agree with Goodreads reviewer Karen that Kelly "tried to be just a bit too clever and tried to cram a bit too much in."

NetGalley/Severn House

Mystery.  Dec. 1, 2013.  Print version:  256 pages.

Reality Boy by A.S. King is a YA novel that is strangely compelling.

Book Description:  Seventeen-year-old Gerald became infamous at age five, when he took a dump on his family’s kitchen table for the whole reality-TV viewing public to see. A network TV nanny came in to help Gerald be less of a problem child, but the cameras didn’t catch what Tasha, his older sister and tormentor, was doing to him and his other sister, Lisi, or his mother’s constant defense of her eldest daughter at the expense of her youngest children. And so Gerald continued to rage on. Though years of anger-management training and a boxing-gym regimen have helped him gain better control, his future still feels limited to jail or death. The narrative, though striking and often heartbreaking, is disjointed in places, namely with Gerald’s grand plan to run away to the circus. However, this is still a King novel, and the hallmarks of her strong work are there: magical realism, heightened emotion, and the steady, torturous, beautiful transition into self-assured inner peace. Like Gerald, it’s wonderfully broken. Grades 9-12. --Courtney Jones

This is an unusual book in several ways, but I fell into it and couldn't put it down.  Gerald is a unique character and although parts of the novel (mother/Tasha relationship, father's vacancy) never felt satisfactorily explained, you can't help but hope Gerald will survive the complications the reality show continue to create years later.  The conclusion leave you feeling hopeful, but maybe a bit pat.

I imagine I'll think about this one for some time.

NetGalley/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

YA.  Oct. 22, 2013.  Print version:  358 pages.


  1. The Ghost Man sounds like an interesting story. Something a little different than what I normally read, but not too far off.

    I haven't read any of Kelly's books before. I like the cover of The Funeral Owl. I will have to look into the series.

    Reality Boy sound interesting, although I admit the cover is a bit scary. LOL

  2. Looks like you've been reading some interesting books! I really like the premise for The Funeral Owl (the cover is great too). All sound good to me and different so I wouldn't mind trying them out one day.