I have read and reviewed almost all of Arthur Slade's books, I fell in love with his writing years ago while working in a book store and look forward to each new read. This one is a departure from some of his more recent works and in many ways a return to his early works. My first thought was 'Chilling read!' as it literally brought Goosebumps to my skin while reading it. In many ways it reads like a more mature and dark tale along the lines of his Northern Frights series.
This was a book that was hard to put down. I do not read many books in actually copy these days preferring the electronic version. But receiving an advanced copy of this I started in, and was hooked from the get go. It is a stunning story that spans decades and a continent. It is described as Gatsby meets the Twilight Zone and it does have that feel. It truly is a page turner. The story begins and ends near Lethbridge Alberta and begins in 1913 and goes until 1939. But most of the story takes place in Hollywood California during the end of the silent films era and the beginning of the modern movie.
The story follows two twins, orphaned and being raised by their uncle and aunt who are budding stars themselves. But the key character is their mysterious patron Mr. Cecil. He is creating movies with sound, but also attempting to capture the energy of emotion. Hollywood in the 1920's was a strange place, maybe even stranger then it's modern incarnation is to us. And these children are thrown into roles they do not understand and a master manipulator is working towards ends that no one could imagine.
This is a great read. I really could not put it down. My mom saw the review copy and asked to read it after me, and she does not read young adult books but is giving this a read. The twin sisters are great characters. There are some interesting twists and more than a few scares. I read 52 books over the past 3 months and this was the top fiction read. This is an incredible story so give it a try!
Books by Arthur Slade:
The Dragonfly's Journey (1996)
John Diefenbaker: an Appointment with Destiny (2000)
Megiddo's Shadow (2006)
Shades: 17 Startling Stories (2011)
Hunchback Assignments Series:
The Hunchback Assignments (2009)
The Dark Deeps (2010)
Empire of Ruins (2011)
Island of Doom (2012)
Modo Embers End - Graphic Novel (2014)
The Northern Frights Series
The Haunting of Drang Island (1998)
The Loki Wolf (2000)
The Canadian Chills Series
Return of the Grudstone Ghosts (2002)
Ghost Hotel (2004)
Invasion of the IQ Snatchers (2007)
Librarian. Assassin. Vampire Series:
Amber Fang: The Hunted
Books as Stephen Shea:
The Not So Simple Life
Viper - Short Story
Visual Bibliography for Arthur Slade
Author profile interview with Arthur Slade.