Wake the Bones is a marvelously eerie, atmospheric debut novel in which four teenage friends face hauntings and pure horror as they try to simply survive.
Anna, Laurel Early's "strange" mother, had a suspiciously green thumb, given the name of their farming town, Dry Valley. When Laurel was a baby, Anna's body was found at the bottom of a well. Now 19-year-old Laurel has "strange gifts" of her own and is known in town as "the devil's daughter." Since college didn't work out, Laurel, her best friend Isaac, and their respective sometime-crushes Ricky and Garrett, are in Dry Valley working with Laurel's uncle Jay growing tobacco. Laurel makes extra money by collecting bones for her growing taxidermy practice. When the teens find Anna's "watery grave" bashed open with "a whole wash of" blood around it, they go into the woods to find what was bleeding. They discover a "morbid mandala of old bones pointed like an accusatory finger at a dead deer" stuffed with flowers. Turns out, the inhabitants of Dry Valley weren't entirely wrong: there is a devil haunting the Early farm. Anna was taken by this devil and Laurel, who "reek[s] of destiny and uncontrolled magic," is its next prey.
Elizabeth Kilcoyne delivers a contemporary Southern gothic novel that illuminates the difficulties inherent in being different in a small town. She laces her mesmerizing prose with the darkness of death, the heat of summer and the uncertainty of destiny, and she uses magic to define the tenuous relationships between life, love and loss. There is beauty and horror here that's not to be missed. --Lynn Becker, reviewer, blogger, and children's book author