September 25, 2006

She Lurks in the Waves

I'm always happy to discover a new author I like, especially one who can weave together various genres to create a fully realized story about that time period where "coming of age" is the last thing you want to hear but the first thing you want to do. It was the combination of suspense/supernatural with the more realistic themes of simply growing up that first made me pull Carol Plum-Ucci's books off the shelf at my library. (It was actually the amazing author photo in her first novel, The Body of Christopher Creed, that convinced me to pick it up. Really. Cup of coffee, cranky expression, lounging on the stairs--that, people, is what it's like to be a writer.)

However, I found that the books I'd borrowed were much more than simply "something weird happened here" stories. In a more recent novel, The She, Evan Barrett not only has to deal with his parents' disappearance at sea when he was a child, but also with the possibility that they may have committed fraud and faked their deaths. But Evan still believes that, the night they disappeared, he heard an unearthly shrieking from out to sea--could it have been the legendary She-Devil of the Hole? To find out, he has to risk alienating his brilliant older brother and make friends with an unlikely girl from school who witnessed a mysterious drowning. But he also has to learn to believe in his own interpretations of things, and that sometimes mysteries don't get solved. It's really a remarkable book--very well-written and suspenseful without being gratuitously scary. I was pleasantly surprised.

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