Bogeyman, by Gayle Wilson

>> Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Until I saw a post about Bogeyman at Tara Marie's blog, I didn't know Gayle Wilson was writing romantic suspense. All I'd read by her were Regency-set historicals.

A child’s worst nightmare. A mother’s worst fear.

A year after the death of her husband, Blythe Wyndham moves with her four-year-old daughter, Maddie, back to the small town where she grew up. But soon after they move into their new house, strange things begin to happen. Maddie has disturbingly intense nightmares—so intense that Blythe fears one night she may not be able to awaken her daughter. A psychologist explains that Maddie’s dreams are simply the result of her father’s death, but Blythe knows something else is wrong. Because she’s heard the tapping at her daughter’s window…

Convinced the house is haunted, Blythe researches the town’s history and discovers that a little girl had been murdered in the area 25 years ago. Could there be some connection between this dead child and Maddie? With the help of Sheriff Cade Jackson, Blythe tries to separate past horrors from present dangers and struggles to distinguish the real from the imagined. But someone is clearly determined to keep a secret—and will kill again to do so.
Well, if this is the kind of romantic suspense Wilson is writing, I'm buying. The plot was fantastic, the characters intriguing and the pacing excellent. I read this one in one sitting, and that's very rare for me these days. A B+.

This is one cover that lets the reader know exactly what the book will be like. An innocent child and something sinister and threatening watching, this is the plot we get in Bogeyman. The child in question is Blythe Wyndham's daughter, Maddie. Ever since they moved back to Blythe's home town in rural Alabama, Maddie has been experiencing terrifying nightmares. Nightmares so scary, in fact, that her mother has began to fear she won't be able to wake up from the next one.

The psychologist she consulted said the nightmares were probably caused by the recent death of Maddie's dad, but Blythe doesn't believe it. Not after she hears the ghostly tapping at her daughter's window and realizes there's nothing physical out there that could be causing it. It soon becomes clear to Blythe that some danger is stalking her and her daughter, something not quite natural, something probably related to the unsolved murder of a young girl 25 years earlier. Sheriff Cade Jackson is more than willing to protect her from physical danger, but will she be able to convince him of what she suspects?

As I said, I literally couldn't put this down. As more and more strange things took place, I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. I kept turning the pages, and could only stop when the book was finished (which was 2 in the morning. Damn you, Gayle Wilson, I had to get up very early the next day!)

I loved the way Wilson combined the supernatural elements with the more mundane suspense elements. She succeeded in creating an extremely creepy atmosphere, and one where the woo-woo stuff made perfect sense, once we found out what was going on. In fact, the way Wilson handled the supernatural reminded me of some of my favourite Barbara Michaels ghost stories, which is a huge compliment from me.

The characters were also great, especially Blythe. She's very believable as a woman who really loves her daughter and would do everything to protect her, but at the same time, isn't perfect. She's sometimes short-tempered and bitchy, and who would blame her? The trauma of the events happening around her would make anyone out of sorts.

Cade is more typical small-town skeptical sheriff, but a good match for Blythe. Not that this is the focus of the book, because there are also shades of Barbara Michaels in the romance. No, not the type of romance, but how subtle it was. But is this really a problem? Honestly, I was too involved in the plot to be at all bothered by how the romance wasn't given all that much attention. And considering the short time frame and the nature of the plot, how traumatic the events going on were, the subtleness was very appropriate, and so was the conclusion to it. There were no out-of-the-blue proposals or declarations of undying love, just two people who acknowledged the attraction and that they would like to pursue it. And that felt right.

I also liked what Wilson did with the setting. This very small town in rural Alabama is instantly recognizable to anyone who's been reading romance for a while. But Wilson writes it with more thougthfulness than usual, not relying on stereotypes, but creating well-rounded secondary characters. And the heroine isn't all-accepting. She loves certain things about the town and its people, but there are others she questions and she feels uncomfortable about having her daughter absorb them.

What didn't feel that right was the conclusion to the suspense. This was the weakest point of the book, I thought. Wilson completely surprised me with this one... all through the story, I was convinced it was someone else. Sure, I like a surprise, but what I didn't like was that the solution didn't feel completely natural. I'm still wondering "why?". It didn't fit what we'd seen of this person (those late revelations about what Cade knew about his past notwithstanding That felt a bit like cheating, and should have been revealed much earlier). It didn't fit with what we'd seen this person do in certain areas. I don't want to spoil the book for anyone, so that's all I'm going to say, but my solution would have been much better *vbg*.

But other than this, Bogeyman was excellent. There's a very interesting excerpt to Wilson's next RS at the back of this one, and I'll be keeping an eye out for it.


Post a Comment

Blog template by

Back to TOP