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Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (BOOK REVIEW) 4/5

An incredible read, this is one of those books that I just picked up and read in a single day. I was startled by how drawn into the book I became. When I started it, I thought the writing was simplistic and the beginning cliche, and I definitely didn’t have high hopes for it. But I am glad to say I was wrong. Mr. Cheetham has crafted an incredible story, following Adam and Ella Piper and their surviving son, Henry. Even though the beginning of this novel isn’t its best, the rest of the novel grips you the whole way through.

It’s not unusual to have a novel that has high points and low points, but for “Don’t Look Back”, the beginning was low and the entire rest of the novel was a steady high, in my opinion. I lost myself in the plot, in the fascinating characters, from the eclectic and strange Rozen and her silent solicitor, to the hardy detective, Penny. I enjoyed each and every personable encounter with them, watching as Adam struggled to convince his wife that this move into the formidable Fenton House was the right one. The history it had, with its several layers, was just as fascinating. This isn’t your average “oh, the house is haunted” story. While it is true a family went missing there, Mr. Cheetham went above and beyond in crafting the backstory, adding in so many head-spinning details to learn about throughout the novel.

There’s a real air of mystery here that is often hard for a novel to capture. Twisting turns every step of the way, an ambiguous question of whether it’s supernatural or just people. This novel has a bit of everything: Family strife, demon summoning, depravity seeking humans, and a strange contract that gives Adam and Ella with a multi-million dollar haunted house. Having their young son at the heart of suspicion from his own father is perhaps my favorite twist of the novel, and something I was glad to see followed to the sequel (which I immediately ordered after finishing this one).

Overall, I can’t recommend this book highly enough for lovers of dark mysteries and paranormal horrors. It’s an incredible read and it will make you think about it for a while after finishing. Can’t wait to dive into the sequel and see if it continues being just as good upon returning to Fenton House.

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