FICTION

Lanny

Graywolf. May 2019. 160p. ISBN 9781555978402. $24; ebk. ISBN 9781555978877. F
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OrangeReviewStarA wood spirit known as Papa Toothwort hovers over a village outside of London, surveying the passing scene while snatches of conversation swirl around him. Observing everything with folksy humor, he takes particular interest in Lanny, a curious young boy who lives with his mother, a former actress now at home writing thrillers, and his Dad, who works as an asset manager in the city. To encourage Lanny's creative bent, Mum arranges lessons for him with their neighbor, "Mad Pete," whose glory days as an avant-garde artist are mostly in the past and who's viewed as dodgy by his fellow villagers. The unlikely friendship that blossoms between the old eccentric and the young boy troubles the nosy neighbors. So when tragedy strikes, it comes as no surprise that Pete is first to fall under suspicion. However, it isn't long before Lanny's parents, village outsiders, are also considered suspect.
VERDICT This imaginative novel starts off dreamily, picks up speed, and races to a propulsive conclusion. A guaranteed edge-of-your-seat read. [See Prepub Alert, 11/26/18.]

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