Christopher Golden, author of The Boys Are Back in Town and coauthor of The Map of Moments, takes a journey away from his usual stories of the magical and horrific to tell a story of a different kind of horror and the macabre for a younger audience. Because of this, Golden is writing under the pseudonym of Thomas Randall, taking us to Japan and its complex culture and ancient supernatural legends.
Kara Foster’s mother was killed in a car crash, leaving her and her father alone. After years of studying Japanese culture and learning the language, they emigrate to Miyazu City where tall and blond Kara will be starting at a new school where her father teaches English. She is terrified, wanting to make friends and fit in, but also knowing she is a gaijin or foreigner, and will have to work hard to gain the respect of others. She eventually befriends the rebellious Sakura and learns of the dark history of Sakura’s sister at Monju-no-Chie school. On the spit of land known as Ama-no-Hashidate she was murdered by a group of school girls for having the love of a boy she had no intention of returning. And now those girls are starting to turn up dead, through mysterious circumstances, while they all appear to be having terrible nightmares involving girls without faces and terrifying cats with sharp claws and teeth – Kara included. Sakura believes it to be the haunting spirit of her sister, exacting revenge, but as Kara discovers, it is something much worse.
Christopher Golden has outdone himself in taking the reader deep into Japanese culture, quick to explain how and why habits and characteristics are different, but at the same time he has a great horror story at the heart of Dreams of the Dead that will keep you riveted to the very end. And the good news is this is the first of a ongoing series by Thomas Randall and includes the prologue and first chapter to the next book in the series, Spirits of the Noh.
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Originally written on November 12th 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.