Tag Archives: Upstate New York

Brooding spirits, lost voices of The Hollows make their claim, again

Ink and Bone, by Lisa Unger. Touchstone. 352 pages. Hardcover $24.99.

If you’ve never been to The Hollows before, that upstate New York community that passes for normal while hiding its truly haunted nature, then you’re in for a big surprise. Restless spirits fester in The Hollows. They cry out for recognition. They have stories to share.  In time of trouble, residents and visitors may sense that there is something strange going on – some kind of invisible force. There seem to be voices, sometimes cries, in the wind.  InkandBone

There are people who are sensitive to the spirit world, whether they wish to be or not. These are the same people who have psychic powers which grant them glimpses of the future, or of the hidden past. They are called upon by the spirits. Eloise Montgomery has lived among the haunted, and among the rest of us, for her whole life: “Eloise told her [granddaughter Finley] long ago that a haunting was a relationship, that the dead clung to the living only as much as the living clung to the dead.”

Finley Montgomery, a twenty-year-old student at the local Sacred Heart College, also has this power, and sometimes the spirit voices and her strange dreams overwhelm her. Only Eloise is able to help her. And she will need all the help she can get to avoid being pulled under by what she must confront.

There is a long history of children who have gone missing in The Hollow. For almost a year, Merri Gleason has tried to find her daughter, Abbey. She feels that if Abbey is not already dead, she soon will be if she’s not found. She contacts Jones Cooper, a former police officer now working as a private detective. Though Jones is a down-to-earth guy, a man of facts, he is open to the paranormal. On the right kind of case he will consult with Eloise. Finding Abbey is one such case.

Lisa Unger credit Jeff Unger

Lisa Unger credit Jeff Unger

It’s a case that can’t help but suck fiercely tattooed Finley into it, much to her peril.

Ms. Unger orchestrates her gripping, eerie novel so that readers alternate among several plot strands, trying to guess if and how they will come together. Tracking down Abbey is one strand. Witnessing the imprisonment and attempted escapes of a young girl called Penny is another. Readers are teased with the idea that Penny is not this girl’s actual name by the introduction of another girl referred to as Real Penny. Perhaps the one we meet is a replacement for one who fled or died. And perhaps there have been others who have been called Penny. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the June 1, 2016 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the June 2 Naples, Bonita Springs, Punta Gorda /Port Charlotte, and Palm Beach Gardens / Jupiter editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Ink and Bone

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Novelist Lisa Unger explores the deadly charm of madness

“In the Blood,” by Lisa Unger. Touchstone. 352 pages. $25.99.

Lisa Unger is the high priestess of the psychological thriller, and with this new book she has both focused and deepened her penetration into the abyss of aberration. This is a remarkable study about people whose feelings are not normal and whose behavior is dangerous. It is also about the threshold between despair and hope, healing and numbing, deceit and brutal honesty. InTheBloodCover

Ms. Unger presents us with states of mind and emotion that we wish to turn away from, but her art is so hypnotic that we cannot. We face this abyss, and we learn by facing it.

When we meet Lana Granger, she is struggling through her senior year at Sacred Heart College in The Hollows, an upstate New York community that has been the setting for several Lisa Unger’s novels. Lana is a very private person. She dresses simply and modestly. She avoids touching. She doesn’t share much about her background (her father has been convicted of killing her mother) and essentially she lives a life of lies.

Over the years, therapy and medication have helped Lana survive her demons, but memories and voices still haunt her. No one really knows her, but those who sense what’s beneath the mask are a threat. For these few, can she risk being honest, truly being “herself”?

Lisa Unger

Lisa Unger

Her college counselor, an expert on abnormal psychology, arranges for Lana to take a babysitting job with a terribly troubled boy who is enrolled in nearby Fieldstone School, a last-chance institution for kids with severe behavior problems.

Luke is a brainy, controlling fellow with a cruel, violent streak that breaks out of control too often. Like many children, he learned early on that his antics make him the center of attention. He knows how to manipulate others to get what he wants. Lana, who understands a great deal about Luke’s inner world from her own past, is a skilled adversary, but is she skilled and courageous enough? More and more is at stake as their relationship unfolds. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the Fort Myers Florida Weekly for February 26, 2014 and the February 27 Naples and Bonita Springs editions, click here Florida Weekly – Unger 1 and  here Florida Weekly – Unger 2

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