Thursday, December 16, 2010

My take on: The Remains

After decades in prison a creepy man, Joseph William Whelan, is coming out of prison. You don't know what he did, but in reading the opening of The Remains by Vincent Zandri you know it was something bad. Need to wash your hands bad. He's a creepy man who speaks in rhyme. He has plans for revenge. His revenge is part of the mystery surrounding the book. What he's done and to whom are slowly revealed. The slow reveals leave you wanting for more.

Rebecca Underhill is a "semi-divorced" artist living in Albany. Her ex-husband Michael, a struggling writer, is still in the picture. She is forever haunted by the death of her identical twin sister Molly, who died from cancer more than eight years ago. Thirty years ago something happened to Molly and Rebecca, something sinister at the hands of Whelan. They wandered into the woods behind their home, despite the being told not to by their father. He knows danger lurks in the woods, but kids being kids they don't listen. They come upon a creepy, dilapidated house. I kept waiting for the big reveal, but Zandri just teases you throughout the novel. Little nuggets are dropped in each chapter.

Whatever happened it was terrible enough to scare Molly and Rebecca into submission. They never told anyone, it's a secret between sisters, fearing Whelan could come back for them.

The fear effects everything Rebecca does, including her work life. She becomes convinced an artistic artist named Franny is sending her messages through his paintings. Are they warnings from Franny? Is Franny trying to frighten Rebecca? Is Franny Whelan's messenger? Or are they messeages from Molly from beyond the grave? Cryptic notes and cellphone texts do nothing to ease Rebecca's fear. What would Molly do? Molly was always the strong one, she would know what to do.

"I find myself just staring at my sister who is me in every way, but so different at the same time."

Zandri's writing style draws you in. He creates a fine balance between Rebecca's past and future. What really happened isn't revealed until the end, and you will be left guessing what happened throughout. Towards the end I found myself speed reading the end because of the mounting suspense. It's definitely a book to read with the lights on!

Rating: Superb

Notes: I received a copy of the book from Pump up Your Book ( as part of a blog tour. For more information on author Vincent Zandri visit:

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