Disconnected vintage telephones occupy an entire section of Bayou Bridge Antiques. When one of them suddenly starts ringing, the eeriness quickly escalates.
The voice on the line orders Larissa to follow the fireflies, and when she obeys, she is transported through time to witness scenes from various moments in her family’s past. As she tries to puzzle out what is happening to her, Larissa realizes that there is a constant in all of the riveting vignettes she witnesses: the presence of a beautiful, perhaps-magical doll that is now one of her mother’s prized possessions. Larissa must figure out how the doll figures into her family history, which has been plagued by tragedies, including Larissa’s own near-drowning, before her mother and unborn baby sister become the next victims. Suspense builds quickly and doesn’t falter until the mystery is solved and restitution is made for long-ago transgressions. Larissa’s first-person narration is fresh and engaging, and the richly evoked south Louisiana setting serves to ground this ethereal tale in a real time and place while contributing to the mysterious mood it requires.
For those fond of exceedingly creepy but not-too-violent stories of the supernatural. Fans of Mary Downing Hahn will devour this one. (Paranormal thriller. 9-12)