Pages of juvenile fantasy

With a bare bones plot, this 16-year-old debut author tries his hand at some amateur suspense

Published: 16th December 2017 10:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th December 2017 06:40 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

Small towns, all over the world, will always have their fair share of merchants, traders, writers, artists, actors, faith healers and antique dealers. It never ceases to amaze one how quickly in these parts, the actual record of events gets blurred, how fast heroes turn into villains while the real bits and pieces of history can often lie buried, till they surface, albeit briefly, at twilight in family legends.

Gossip, public opinion, fama as the Romans called it, makes the world go round. The more a rumour is denied, the more it lingers in the air. Life in these places is oft lived with everyone knowing everyone’s little quirks and oddities and eccentricities, those quirks in human nature, which make people different even as they stand out. Indeed, these are places where ‘to keep little secrets, they tell big lies’. In a small town where everyone has their own little secrets, no one is safe or above suspicion.

In this unputdownable thriller, the police force of Colmstock is horrified to receive an anonymous note. Unsigned and undated, the note is believed to have been written by an unknown perpetrator who has left a series of porcelain dolls on doorsteps, terrorising local families: ‘I am not sick. I just like the little dolls. I always break them. I see them and I want to collect them. I want to line them up, so perfect and untouched. I want them to be perfect but I can’t help it. I think I’ll break one soon.’

The parents of the young girls who have received the dolls are, understandably, concerned. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: A tiny porcelain doll appearing on your doorstep. Bright blonde hair, rosy cheeks, even a little blue dress. A perfect replica of the daughter in your home.

Some believe the police are not doing enough to protect them. There have been no arrests and no suspects in this beguiling case. As usual, the police are mum, declining to make any comment on the progress.
But Rose, a journalist with The Star, is not too happy with the way things are panning out. There’s something about Will did not add up, and she sets out to find out what it was. Her heart is hammering.

The guy was acting weird, hiding something. She checked the silent corridor. The light to the room was off. Rose stood in the dark, seeing the ghost of the bed and cabinet, the black abyss of the television screen. Closing her eyes, she breathes slowly. The room had the same slightly musty smell that made the hairs on her arms stand up.

Full of twist and turns, packed with surprise that bowl you over. It’s hard to put down this thriller even as the doorbell rings.

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