Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Hanging of Cousin Charlotte

Haven, T. (2015). The Hanging of Cousin Charlotte. Self-Published.

MG / Horror / Paranormal / Short Story

5 out of 5 Stars for the Story
2 out of 5 Stars for Editing***

Justine seeks to solve a mystery. Why doesn't Charlotte like sleeping in her own room?

Narrator Justine Clare tells the story of ten years before, when her older cousin Charlotte came to live in England with Justine and her family. After a few months, something terrible began to happen to Charlotte in her room in the darkest hours of the 11th of every month. Was it just a recurring nightmare or something more that was taking a very physical toll on Charlotte?

I had intended to just take a quick peek after I downloaded this book, but I was immediately engrossed and fifteen minutes later was wide-eyed and finished with the story.  As in another of her short stories, Mama Cried, Author Talia Haven manages to pack a big punch in very few pages and builds a setting and story that will stay with readers long after the last page is read.  (And that last page provides an excellent surprise ending.) The cover, designed by Sytiva Sheehan, is an excellent representation of the story and will deserve a closer look by readers after they finish reading.

At just fourteen pages, this is a great story to give to an impatient or reluctant reader from middle grade level on up.  It's sufficiently spooky without being graphic, so it won't be too much for younger audiences and is still enough to engage older readers.  The only disappointment is that there were over a dozen errors including errors in spelling, punctuation, wrong words, dropped words, added words, and some formatting issues. The story is good enough that it might not distract some from the story, but it did for this reader; hence the second 2 out of 5 rating. The errors were excessive for the short page count, and another editing pass would take this short story to top notch. ***UPDATE: I shared the errors I found with the author, and she has since corrected them. My understanding is that the current version available does not have these errors. Hooray! That makes it a full-on FIVE STAR STORY.  

Thank you to the author for providing me an eBook copy in exchange for my honest review -- the only kind I give.   

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