Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire

This is one of those books which is difficult to classify. It fits more into the horror genre than urban fantasy, but isn't quite spooky enough to raise the hackles and cause insomnia. The whole thing is an abrupt change of pace for McGuire, but still enjoyable, though perhaps not as a steady diet - for me, anyway.

This is the story of Rose, the ghostly prom date who appears alongside the roads and byways of rural America, hoping for a ride home. She was killed on Sparrow Hill Road in a car crash on prom night, and has been doomed to an afterlife of rides with strangers.

One of the premises is that if a living human being offers her their coat to keep warm, she becomes solid to the touch and lives until the stroke of midnight causes her to become insubstantial once more. While she's "real", she can eat meals at truck stops and diners, enjoy warmth rather than the coldness of death, and even have sex.

One of her "jobs" is to help those whom the road also claims as victims to come to terms with their new existence, either to join the wandering ghosts of the road or to pass on to whatever heaven or hell awaits them.

The story is told in a series of vignettes and flashbacks, yet moves steadily forward to the resolution of a conflict with the man responsible for her death.

As I said, not my usual fare, but a pretty and dark yarn by McGuire.

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