Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Secret Life of Souls ~ Jack Ketchum & Lucky McKee (earc) review [@LuckyMcKee @JackKetchum]

The Secret Life of Souls
Pegasus Books
November 08, 2016
240 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

At the heart of this psychological suspense novel is the haunting depiction of a family’s fall and the extraordinary gifted dog, Caity, who knows the truth. As the drama unfolds Caity evolves from protector to savior, from scapegoat to prop, and eventually, from avenger to survivor. She is an unselfish soul in a selfish world—and she is written with depth and grace by authors Ketchum and Mckee, who display a profound understanding of a dog’s complex emotions. With her telling instincts and her capacity for joy and transformative love, Caity joins the pantheon of great dogs in contemporary literature.

Eleven year old actress Delia Cross is beautiful, talented, charismatic. A true a star in the making. Her days are a blur of hard work on ­set, auditions and tutors. Her family—driven, pill­-popping stage mother Pat, wastrel dad Bart, and introverted twin brother Robbie—depends on her for their upscale lifestyle. Delia in turn depends on Caity, her beloved ginger Queensland Heeler—and loyal friend—for the calming private space they share. Delia is on the verge of a professional break through. But just as the contracts are about to be signed, there is a freak accident that puts Delia in the danger zone with only Caity to protect her.

Though the description calls it a 'psychological suspense' novel, it was much more of a 'horror' novel read (but with definite psychological elements). The Secret Life of Souls really begins in a way that leaves you not knowing what could go so wrong for them. Of course, with Pat and Bart as her parents, something almost has to.

The adult characters in this book are not ones you're going to like. They drink too much, they get a lot of joy out of spending money that was earned by Delia, they abuse prescription medication, and have some rather unhealthy relationships. The more the story develops the more sinister feelings they seem to incite. You almost want something bad to happen to them.

The story really builds on itself well. We start with the normal, everyday (although still not most people's normal or everyday) life of the Cross family and as the book progresses, little things begin happening. Slowly, though the little (and not so little) things, the narrative and the family's life changes rather dramatically. Until the ending. The last twenty or so percent of the book is when it all comes together . . .and when it all falls apart.

The way the different narrations are used - including one by Caity - was interesting and gives you a different look at some of the characters and events. The present tense use was okay, but there were times when either the wrong tense was used, they didn't match up or something just felt off about the phrasing.

This read was not what I was expecting based on the book description, nonetheless I really did enjoy it.

Does it still count as product placement if many - if not most - of the inclusions of brand names more turn you off from th product than promote it? Whatever it counted as, there were a lot of mentions of specific brand names in The Secret Life of Souls. Mostly it was alcohol or (prescription) drug names so it seemed to stand out more and could be distracting.

review copy recieved from publisher, via NetGalley

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