A psychological ghost story featuring foul deeds, grizzly deaths, and the horrific nature of the human mind.
Winnette (Haints Stay, 2015, etc.) has throughout his career demonstrated an affinity for toying with the conventions of genre; here, in his sixth book, he takes on the realm of the gothic. An unnamed narrator has just lost his parents and is sent away to a state-run facility for orphaned boys. A natural outcast, he finds his new home isolating, his fellow students cruel, and the headmaster vicious and creepy. Once the corpses begin to appear, however, it becomes clear there's something far scarier afoot than the trials and tribulations of fitting in. Winnette’s ghastly vision, which would be right at home in the minds of Guillermo Del Toro or Shirley Jackson, is disturbing from beginning to end. The narrator's voice contains an emotionless chill that gradually gets under the reader’s skin like the endless ticking of a clock, and his profoundly intellectual consciousness, while at times too long-winded, energizes the novel’s somewhat generic plot without ever betraying its eerily placid tone.
Winnette has conjured a profoundly unsettling story from the murky depths of his imagination; once it clicks, giggles, and slithers into your mind, it’s nearly impossible to dislodge.