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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Shadow Play (Michele Spence)

One of the things horror does is touch on topics that make us uneasy and show us things that could possibly happen.  The best ones work when there is a history of such things happening in real life...

The small town of Powellton is a quite town where everyone knows pretty much everyone.  The sort of place where a couple like Steve and Felicia McKenzie could settle down and raise a family in relative safety and comfort.  At least until the animals start acting funny, adults start getting headaches, and the children come down with a flu.  Soon, the idealic town of Powellton will be thrust into a hurricane... a hurricane of rain and wind... and unspeakable rage...

"Shadow Play" is one of those books that carries you along as its characters try to deal with the growing chaos around them.  The writing style is smooth, and fluid- while being plain speaking at the same time.  It  doesn't waste your time with useless details or red herrings.  Everything has a point and a place in the story.  The characters are well crafted, likable, and varied enough that you get a larger portrayal of things than you do in most stories that deal with up to four characters as the central ones at one time.  Here, you get the adults, and the children.  All of the character storylines are interesting, and fit together nicely to create a complete and entertaining book.  There are hints as to what's happening throughout the book, but they're subtle enough that they may pass you by until the climax.

The story is very plausible- and actually has some basis in reality- but I don't want to spoil the book by telling you what events in the real world help to bolster the books realism.  I'll just say that the United States Government has, in the past, admitted to doing what is revealed in the climatic scene.

I really enjoyed the slowly building tension and suspense this book conveyed.  Even though I had an idea about what was going to happen, I wanted to  keep reading and find out.  I actually read this book in one sitting- and it's hard for a book to get me to do that in most cases.  I cared about the characters, and felt the confusion and anguish at the situation they found themselves in.  I even felt sorry for the "villians" of the story.

This is one book, I would definately recommend to my friends, and I'll be seeing if I can find more books by Michele Spence.  I'm placing, "Shadow Play" in "The Good".

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