Length: 331 Pages
Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
When Laurie was a little girl, she was forbidden to enter the room at the top of the stairs. It was one of many rules imposed by her cold, distant father. Now, in a final act of desperation, her father has exorcised his demons. But when Laurie returns to claim the estate with her husband and ten-year-old daughter, it’s as if the past refuses to die. She feels it lurking in the broken moldings, sees it staring from an empty picture frame, hears it laughing in the moldy greenhouse deep in the woods…
At first, Laurie thinks she’s imagining things. But when she meets her daughter’s new playmate, Abigail, she can’t help but notice her uncanny resemblance to another little girl who used to live next door. Who died next door. With each passing day, Laurie’s uneasiness grows stronger, her thoughts more disturbing. Like her father, is she slowly losing her mind? Or is something truly unspeakable happening to those sweet little girls?
Praise for Little Girls:
“One cannot help but think of writers like Peter Straub and Stephen King.”
“Malfi is a skillful storyteller.”—New York Journal of Books
“A complex and chilling tale….terrifying.”—Robert McCammon
“Malfi’s lyrical prose creates an atmosphere of eerie claustrophobia…haunting.”—Publishers Weekly
“A thrilling, edge-of-your-seat ride that should not be missed.”—Suspense Magazine
Ronald Malfi is an award-winning author of many novels and novellas in the horror, mystery, and thriller categories from various publishers, including Little Girls, this summer’s 2015 release from Kensington.
In 2009, his crime drama, Shamrock Alley, won a Silver IPPY Award. In 2011, his ghost story/mystery novel, Floating Staircase, was a finalist for the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award for best novel, a Gold IPPY Award for best horror novel, and the Vincent Preis International Horror Award. His novel Cradle Lake garnered him the Benjamin Franklin Independent Book Award (silver) in 2014. December Park, his epic childhood story, won the Beverly Hills International Book Award for suspense in 2015.
Most recognized for his haunting, literary style and memorable characters, Malfi’s dark fiction has gained acceptance among readers of all genres.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1977, and eventually relocated to the Chesapeake Bay area, where he currently resides with his wife and two children.
Little Girls is a very good ghost story and from the opening scene when Laurie is talking to Dora, her fathers caretaker, and Dora’s brother we are given descriptions that make you get that spooked out feeling. It’s the kind of start to a story that had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up and kept them there. Laurie has come to her childhood home deal with her father’s house after his mysterious death, a death she doesn’t fully understand and doesn’t have the emotional strength to tackle. She doesn’t have happy memories here and all she wants to do is settle his estate and return home, but it’s not that simple. Laurie is haunted by the similarities between her daughter Susan’s new friend Abigail and her own childhood friend Sadie. Sadie is someone she hasn’t thought about in years and it’s not a memory she invites. The more Laurie gets to know Abigail the more she is convinced that she is Sadie, as much as she knows this isn’t possible her mind can’t let this nagging feeling go.
After talking with Dora about the condition of the house and the strange way things are left, Laurie is left with a strange feeling and it just doesn’t set right. The image of her father’s death and Abigail’s resemblance to her childhood friend is more than Laurie can deal with, making for a great and complex story as we put the pieces together for ourselves. Ronald Malfi sets this all up for us and leads down the path to something very scary, his scenes are described with clarity and obscurity at the same time, adding to what I call ‘the creep factor’. I was more than hooked and drawn in to the story. This was a great read and I don’t know why I haven’t read Ronald Malfi before now.
As we are taken deeper and deeper into the story within the story we learn some of the horrors that are haunting Laurie. Why she is so disturbed by just being at her childhood home, seeing the little girl who lives next door, and why she is so disturbed about her father’s death. Ronald Malfi writes with such authority that I can feel the emotions of his characters, and in this case it’s more than a bit disturbing. He has a great skill in taking a little girl who shouldn’t be scary or one that makes you uncomfortable and gave me the same feeling I had when I watched the twin girls in The Shinning. Why are little girls spooky? Good question, you’ll have to read for the story for yourself.
As we near the third and final part to the book the story is in full force and the horror buried deep in the past is coming to the surface. Secrets and lies that Laurie thought were only nightmares are now coming to light, leaving Laurie questioning everything. The depth to which Ronald Malfi takes the story was much deeper and darker than I expected, and the truth was far worse than I had imagined it to be. I found myself disgusted and yet I was turning pages in a fury to reach the conclusion.
I loved the way the truth was weaved in with what was thought to be reality, and in the end I’m still not sure all the questions were reveled and I don’t care because sometimes in life as in a great book we aren’t given all the answers. Sometimes we are left wondering and have to fill in the blanks ourselves. Little Girls is a well written, solid story from the first page until the final word. I wasn’t disappointed with slow storytelling, poor characters or bad back story. What I was given was a great read and I only wish I’d been reading Ronald Malfi sooner, I’m more than sure I’ve missed out on some very well done books.
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Where Can you find Ronald Malfi?
Visit with Ronald Malfi on Facebook, Twitter (@RonaldMalfi), or at http://www.ronmalfi.com.
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