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Mackie Doyle doesn’t quite fit in with his gloomy, outwardly perfect town. His eyes are just too dark. He has an allergic reaction to iron. And most people don’t know this, but consecrated ground blisters his skin. See, the town of Gentry pays a price for its perfection; it pays with its children. And Mackie is just a replacement for one of them.
This was actually creepier than I expected it to be. Let’s face it, that cover is a lot to live up to. I love it, but it even caught my husband’s attention. The book and the cover actually went well together in this case.
We kind of learn things as Mackie does, which leaves us with questions that are answered in a way that feels right. This storytelling technique can sometimes backfire horribly for me as a reader and leave me feeling that the author cheated. Not the case here. There’s a reason Mackie doesn’t know things and there’s a reason people don’t talk about what’s going on.
Mackie was feeling a little too sorry for himself throughout the book, and that’s the biggest thing that knocked this back a couple of stars. I kind of understand it now (he’s really, really not feeling well, and who doesn’t feel sorry for themselves then?), but I didn’t realize that this was new for him and how bad it was until well into the book, when my opinions were pretty firmly set. If I could have seen him on some good days in some flashbacks or something, I would have had more empathy for him.
Tate was a great character. I was confused by her at first, but as things are explained, I understood why she was acting like she did. I loved that she didn’t take crap off of anyone and was not afraid to finish a fight that someone else started.
Roswell. I have things to say about him but I don’t want to spoil anything. Hmmm. Let’s just say that I expected his character to go in a different direction and I would really like to read the story that would have happened if my expectations had come through. Things would have gotten even more interesting.
The setting for the book was just perfect. It’s dark and damp and rainy and eerie in a way that’s hard to put your finger on in this old steel mill town.
I have to say that the underage drinking and hinted-at sex bothered me a little. The adults must be on vacation or clueless, because no one notices what’s going on. It wasn’t anything too terrible, but it’s so far outside the realm of my own experiences as a teen that I have a hard time relating to it. I know it happens, it just didn’t happen in my world.
Those few negatives aside, I do recommend this for a dark and stormy night when you want some pleasant shivers to travel down your spine.
Read an excerpt.
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I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore located in downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.