Here is a delightfully creepy book to please fans of both contemporary and classic fantasy horror.
by Lora Senf
Read from a library copy.
Evelyn “Evie” von Rathe has lived with her Aunt Desdemona “Dee”, a newspaper columnist and psychic investigator in tiny Blight Harbor, since her parents’ presumed death in a house fire several years earlier.
“There was no shortage of otherworldly concerns in Blight Harbor, mainly because it was the most haunted town in America (per capita).”The Clackity by Lora Senf, p 3
Evie is friendly with many of the local ghosts, and enjoys volunteering at the library, where her aunt’s best friend and real-life witch, Lily Littleknit, is the librarian. But things take a turn from cozy creepy to downright terrifying when Aunt Dee investigates something dark at the abandoned abattoir at the edge of town, where the town’s famous mass murderer of a century ago worked. John Jeffrey Pope may have been caught and sentenced, but in a town like Blight Harbor, that doesn’t mean much.
In the unnatural shadows of the abattoir, Evie meets first a flock of supportive sparrows, one of whom becomes a tattoo that helps her along her journey, and then the shadowy, too-many-jointed, sharp-toothed Clackity. The Clackity promises to give Aunt Dee back if Evie brings it the ghost of John Jeffrey Pope. All she has to do is follow the path it’s set for her through seven different houses… but with the Clackity clearly untrustworthy and the ghost of John Jeffrey Pope hot on her trail, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Doing so means confronting many of Evie’s deepest fears, most especially around the house fire that presumably killed her parents, though Evie clings to hope that they somehow survived. Each different house contains a different kind of horror to be worked through, from personal to fairy tale to Victorian and more.
Altogether, this is combination of classic horror settings with a mix of lightheartedness, real terror, and personal growth that really worked for me. No surprise, I really loved the witches, both Lily the librarian and the witches in the fairy tale cottage, though the insistence on each witch being monochromatic was a bit puzzling. Evie herself has a decidedly modern feel, signaled by her edgy haircut, that will resonate well with today’s kids. Her search for her parents is unresolved by the end of the book, leaving room for more books set in Blight Harbor.