Swift, Brutal Retaliation by Meghan McCarron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a nice quick read. It can easily be finished in one sitting. It takes place in the few days after the death of Ian, the oldest child in the family. It is a ghost story, since Ian appears to his younger sisters several times after the funeral. It is also a complex story about family relationships and grief, for all its short length. The family is dominated by the father, who is strict and dictatorial. Mother is withdrawn and distant, afraid to antagonize her husband. The two sisters are confused and unsure how to deal with the changes in the family because of the death of their brother.
The interesting thing about the story is the framework. The girls grew up dealing with their brother's constant pranks and bullying. They fall back on that familiar behavior in trying to deal with their own grief. The ghost of Ian seems to be continuing his pranking behavior even now that he is dead, but there are hints that it is something more. The hints are there, and the girls are trying to figure out what he wants. Without spoiling anything, I think the message is different from what most people might think. The ending is not quite a "tie up all the ends" type, and can seem a bit abrupt and unfinished. It did fit the story quite well.
This is not a typical ghost story, but its subtlety and psychological aspects make it worth the short time it takes to read it.
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