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MERCY by Sarah L. Thomson

MERCY

The Last New England Vampire

By Sarah L. Thomson

Age Range: 11 - 17

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-934031-36-0
Publisher: Islandport Press

Paranormal mystery meets family drama in a fictionalized, modernized exploration of a historical suspected vampire tragedy. 

Over 100 years after the Mercy Brown vampire incident in Exeter, R.I., Mercy's fictional modern relative re-opens the case. Haley, a 14-year-old doing a family-history project for school, picks Mercy not just because of the fame of the case or that she was an alleged vampire, but because of her own grieving. Along with the stresses of fitting into a new family structure—her parents are divorced, bringing a stepmother and 2-year-old half-brother into her life—she also grieves the looming death of her terminally ill, favorite cousin, Jake, whose medical mystery no doctor has been able to diagnose or treat. A mysterious, standoffish older relative, Aunt Brown, provides a family tree and haunted glove that serve as evidence and a way to connect with the ghosts of the family's past. While simplified and repetitive sentence structures deflate tension from some of the scarier moments, Thomson (Dragon's Egg, 2010, etc.) generally writes a likable and appealing lead character, capturing both Haley's grief over her family and her difficulties finding where she fits into their lives.

With varying degrees of success as a ghost story, vampire mystery and family drama, this story is solid but unremarkable. (historical note) (Paranormal mystery. 11-17)