Forgotten Sisters

Thomas & Mercer: Amazon. Mar. 2024. 303p. ISBN 9781662513916. pap. $16.99. HORROR
Early in Pelayo’s novel, Anna remarks to the listeners of her podcast (about the haunted history of Chicago) that all good ghost stories are based in fact. Anna knows this all too well, as she and her sister Jennie live alone in a meticulously maintained but clearly haunted historic home on the banks of the Chicago River—the same river that took the lives of their parents in a tragic accident and where the bodies of missing young men have been turning up with alarming frequency. It’s also the river that has been her comfort since childhood, alongside her grandmother’s copy of “The Little Mermaid” fairy tale. But as Anna struggles to watch after her sister and keep the house and its ghosts happy, detectives come knocking with questions. This compelling mystery within a unique haunted-house story is told in gorgeous prose, with sympathetic, complicated characters who feel as if they could materialize off the page.
VERDICT Pelayo (The Shoemaker’s Magician) has given readers another can’t-miss novel, marked by its pervasive unease and riveting storyline. For fans of ghost stories that mine memory, fairy tales, and mystery, such as the works of Simone St. James, Jennifer McMahon, and Helen Oyeyemi.
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