The Ghosts of Varner Creek
Michael L. Weems
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From Kirkus Reviews
At 87, Solomon "Sol" Mayfield is taken on an otherworldly journey to discover what really happened to his family. Sol has been able to see ghosts ever since his mother and sister mysteriously disappeared when he was a child. When he dies in a nursing home in the second chapter of the novel, it's only the beginning of his story. He's reunited with his sister, Sarah, who reveals family secrets he was never able to learn while he was alive. The novel flashes back to 1909, when Sol was 12 and Sarah was 13. The day after Sarah's birthday, Sol wakes up to find that his mother and sister are gone. Many in their small town of Varner Creek, Texas, assume that Sol's mother, Annie, had finally had enough of his abusive father, Abram; others suspect foul play. Abram blamed Annie for Sarah's Down syndrome and for trapping him in a small town by becoming pregnant at 14. Sent to live with his Aunt Emma and Uncle Colby, Sol is visited one night by what appears to be Sarah's ghost. Is his sister dead? If so, who killed her? And what about their mother? Sol sets out to find the answers, some of which are not revealed until decades later. Weems' story unfurls slowly, at a pace that feels
consistent with life in a small Texas town. He has an impressive knack for dialect, and regional accents and idioms help bring the characters into vivid relief. Also, Sol's self-deprecation and world-weary charm make him an instantly likable narrator. While it's easy to get pulled into his story, the narrative sags a bit in the middle when the reader is given a thorough history of how Sol's parents met, which doesn't feel entirely necessary to the main story. When the final mystery is unveiled, however, the solution is sufficiently unexpected if not completely shocking.
A well-crafted balance of history and supernatural mystery.
What readers are saying:
"If you like mild horror of the real kind, semi historical type settings around the turn of the century then grab this book, sit down and get comfy 'cuz you won't be putting this down til you're done."
"Seldom does a book touch me the way this one did. I highly recommend this book."
"Couldn't put it down lots of twists and turn. Keeps you guessing up to the very end."
"I haven't stayed up all night reading a book because I simply couldn't put it down in years, until last night. This book was fabulous."
"This is the first review I've ever written - it was that good."
"This story was haunting and chilled me to the core. I couldn't read fast enough to find out what happened to the characters. I was definitely hooked from the very beginning.
Ive never before read an entire book in one day. Until now. This story is so engrossing and poignant I never stopped for more than a few minutes. Even though there are numerous editing errors, both grammatically and even a couple of places where the names are mixed up, the story was too good to be affected. Thanks for a good read. And I almost never read fiction anymore. Good job.
Very nice book
The book has a little bit of everything enough for keeping you wanting to know more. Very quick read. Happy to have founded it.
It was so good the beginning was a little boring, but in the end it was great!