“Secret members, stolen notebooks, pilfered writing ideas—it was all so ridiculous!” So rages Jääskeläinen’s exasperated heroine, and she does have a point.
Mystery is the thing in this strange, dreamlike fantasy that explores the power of stories and those who write them and what happens when the buried secrets of an exclusive group of authors threaten to overtake the laws of nature. In the town of Rabbit Back, revered children’s novelist Laura White has taken nine writers under her wing as the mysterious Rabbit Back Literary Society, and she chooses Ella Milana, a young literature teacher, to take the coveted 10th spot in the group. But at the party to celebrate Ella’s membership, White suddenly disappears as her house fills with snow. Children in town soon report disturbing nightmares about White’s body showing up to read her stories to them, and Ella determines to use her ties to the Literary Society to research the true story of White’s life and the fate of the original 10th member, who died years ago. But the rules of The Game, a ritual dictated by the society’s members, require that every confession be a two-way street. At its best, the novel gives a compelling view of the strangeness that lurks beneath the most “normal” places and people, and it draws on elements of myth, fairy tale and ghost story to increase the scary factor. Sometimes, Jääskeläinen hits the right creepy note to make the hairs on the neck stand up, but sometimes the story crosses the line into just too weird.
Has some Twin Peaks moments even if it tries a little too hard. Still, read with all the lights on!