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Part coming-of-age story, part thrilling ghost tale, The Haunting at Beecher Hill, surprised me. The story follows Jace Griffin, a likable fifteen year old still struggling to make his way in the rough landscape that is high school. In the opening scene Jace takes a dare and goes into the woods, an innocent enough act if these were just normal woods. These woods hold secrets that make the boys wary. Murders happened here and, as Jace finds out when he enters, the ghosts violence has wrought still linger. Jace gets a terrible nose bleed, blacks out and when he awakens realizes that nothing is the same. He is now haunted by the ghost of a murdered boy. He sees visions, hears voices and now doubts everything around him. He finally lands a girlfriend, but blows it when he has a vision of her as a bloated corpse. Jace must unlock the secrets of the past if he will ever be able to save his future.
The Haunting at Beecher Hills is solidly written. The characters feel real and the dialog is fitting. I had no trouble with setting or transitioning from one scene to another. And I like Jace. He is a sweet, well-intentioned young man who suffers greatly when this ghost attaches himself. There were parts that were down right scary. Luttery does not mess around when it comes to suspense and horror. I think those were the key scenes in the book, scenes that made me turn the light back on in a dark room or look behind me as I walked down the hall. It is hard to write horror and Luttery does it well.
There were a few things that struck me as odd in this book. For one, I was never sure if this was a YA book or adult. The protagonist is fifteen, so that suggests YA. However, the language (f-word) and sexual content made me think it was aimed at least at older YA. I would recommend the book for mature audiences. Another issue I had was that the book started off with the hauntings, but lost some momentum as Jace traversed through the world of high school. It took too long to get back to the paranormal happenings for my taste. There were a few errors, but nothing to stall my reading. Overall, it's a solid effort for Luttery and I think he has a strong career ahead of him.
THE Breeders Stories will be out in June.
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Katie French is the author of The Breeders, a Young Adult dystopian adventure and Eyes Ever to the Sky, a sci fi romance. Nessa: A Breeders Story, a prequel novelette is available on Amazon for FREE. Sign up for notifications, or like her on Facebook.