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Red House Books is going through a bit of a update!

I've always had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted this space to be but I've been detoured from my path by...lots and lost of other people's opinions and ways of doing things...

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Book Review: Picture The Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown

Age: 14+ (my guess)
Publication Date: May 2010
Tags: ghosts, family, civil war, photography, mystery
Pages: 272
Series: no
Book Acquisition: received a finished copy at BEA

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

(from Goodreads)  
Jennie’s connection with her twin brother, Toby, grew stronger after he died in 1864. Now Jennie must rely on her ability to communicate with the dead to find out what has happened to her beloved fiance, Will, while he was off at war. The army says he died honorably in battle. His brother confides that he became a violent criminal and died in a prison camp. Jennie begins to doubt that anyone is telling her the truth. 
This intriguing combination of historical romance, paranormal thriller, and clever mystery is illustrated by bestselling artist Lisa Brown. The unique visuals originated from real Civil War daguerreotypes that were transformed into eerie mementos for Jennie’s scrapbook. 
With the help of a spiritualist photographer, the spirit of her dead fiance, and the clues she discovers and keeps in her scrapbook, Jennie must put together the pieces of this mystery before she loses her home, her fortune, and possibly her life.

My Review:
Ghost stories are up there on my list of favorites. Done well, a ghost story can get under your skin and into your head in ways that some relish and others run from. Because of my love, I was very much looking forward to reading Picture The Dead.

I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised. Ghost story? Yes but it's so much more! Did my skin tingle? Oh yeah. Did I run? Not a chance. This was a mystery I had to know the ending of.

The thing I liked most about this one was how all the pieces fit together. The civil war, spiritualism and photography were only the tip of the iceberg for me. Picture The Dead has the feel of a classic mystery - very hard to put down, lots of twists and an awesome ending!

Oh, and the illustrations? Wonderful. They added a layer to the story and to the mystery that I found really compelling. It was really hard for me to put this one down. In fact "Almost every character in Picture the Dead has a real-life 19th century counterpart, unearthed from the archives of the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress." (taken from Picture The Dead website) How cool is that? Check out the photos they used here and here.

All in all, this was a fabulous read for me. I was lucky enough to meet Adele and Lisa (very briefly :) at BEA this year when they were signing and giving out the book. They were both supper supper nice AND they were in costume!

I would recommend this one to fans of ghost stories and mysteries who like a little extra something in their readings.

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