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The Grave Artist [Kindle Edition]

Paula Lynn Johnson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $6.50
Kindle Price: $2.99
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Book Description

16-year-old Clare can't stop drawing the bizarre, winged skulls she calls "Sammies". Her psychiatrist assumes the compulsive drawings are just expressions of Clare's grief over her father abandoning her. But then Clare discovers that her Sammies are exact matches for the Death's Head on the grave of Samantha Forsythe, a teen who reportedly fell to her death over two centuries ago.

Before long, Clare's drawings morph into cryptic writings that urge her to uncover the truth behind Samantha's death. Together with Neil -- the friend she might be falling for -- Clare scours the local history for clues. She finds that, although Samantha was engaged to a wealthy landowner, there were whispered rumors of her involvement with a younger, biracial man.

Soon, Clare is haunted by disturbing dream images -- a mysterious eye, a broken chain -- that point to someone Samantha called her "Dearest". But who is Dearest? And why does Samantha need Clare to find him so badly?

Isolated and carrying hidden scars of her own, Clare fears her obsession with Samantha will threaten her sanity and safety. But it seems she has no choice in the matter . . .

The Grave Artist is a compelling paranormal murder mystery and a poignant story about loss and what it means thrive in a less-than-perfect reality.

Editorial Reviews


"Johnson presents a believable, multilayered heroine whose narration is lively and insightful . . . The action is brisk, with a surprising but believable twist near the end. Never stilted or clumsy, this debut novel reads like the work of a far more experienced writer." - Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Paula Lynn Johnson loves a good ghost story. She's a former English major and attorney living in central New Jersey with her husband, kids, cat, dog, and killer rabbit. She adores them all, even the killer rabbit. When she’s not writing paranormal thrillers, Paula also writes short humor pieces for sites like and

Product Details

  • File Size: 1162 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1482785226
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007JZT5A0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #432,109 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic story August 8, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
THE GRAVE ARTIST (YA) by Paula Lynn Johnson

THE GRAVE ARTIST is the March 2012 release by author Paula Lynn Johnson. A detour from the ordinary YA paranormal storylines, The Grave Artist tells the tale of junior high student Clare Davis and her obsession with drawing Death Skull images. But she soon realizes that her compulsion to draw the skulls is out of her control.

Clare Davis is the child of divorce and is unhappy that she and her mother are no longer able to live like they once lived. Following the split of her parents and a near death experience at a party, Clare is forced into counseling when the Death Skull images that she continues to draw (she has named Sammies) become too macabre for her mother to understand-even Clare does not know from where the compulsion originates. But a visit to an old cemetery will reveal more to Clare than her own hand-drawn images.

Neil aka Gollum is Clare's BFF. A fellow art student, Neil's interest in Clare extends beyond their similar interests. When Clare's images begin to interfere with her sleep and her daily routine, the local historical society may hold some answers to the names and faces that begin to haunt. Soon Neil becomes her support and her rock, and guides Clare through her daily excursions hunting for the truth. But once things become dangerous, Neil wants Clare to pull back from her search. Clare knows that the only way to stop the compulsions is to get to the bottom of the mystery.

The local historian reveals that the founding family, the Forsythe's, had a wide and rather colorful history. But as Neil and Clare begin to search the local archives, they learn that many of Clare's images are quite possibly a communication from beyond the grave.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Grave Artist September 15, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I took a chance on this book when I saw it available as a free download. No better way to try an unknown author. After reading it I can say without hesitation it's worth paying full price. A very engaging and well written story in the old fashioned sense; no car chases, no explosions, it simply builds its world, slowly and surely. It's a semi-detective story as the heroine tries to unravel the mystery of her odd dreams that seem to revolve around an old grave. This story sucked me in and thoroughly engaged me. Highly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It! April 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I love the characters and the story. Even the subplots were interesting. As the title implies, there is art involved. Well, and there are graves. The young adult is the target audience. I'm four times that old. Even still I found that I could relate to the story. I was very pleased that the book wasn't all teen angst. In fact, it was an angst we all have about changes in our lives. The ghost has a bit of angst of her own, and that drives the story and the main character. Thankfully, the usual teen bullies and heart throb romance wasn't a part of this book. Yes, there is like/love but it is secondary to the plot.

What I will remember this book for, what makes it stand out among YA books for me, is that I felt I learned something. And I felt inspired. There are places, and terms, that I felt I needed to look up. In doing so I began to want to know more. I even feel inspired to take more art classes.
The book does take a look at the kinds of pressure a student goes through. If you are gifted, do you need to be pressured into only the `hard' classes? If you are talented but not educationally gifted, are you a loser? I love how the author addresses these issues, often left out of other books.

The Grave Artist was a fun read. I am sorry I am finished with it. I think it stands alone, but I would love to follow the characters further.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from BookRooster to review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars well-written and engaging November 5, 2013
By MoIsMe
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Because this is a YA novel that I received as a free ebook, I wasn't really expecting to enjoy this tale nearly as much as I did.
It's the story of a young girl, Clare, trying to find herself amid her parents divorce and subsequent move to a new school, a new town and new faces. She finds herself doodling skulls, almost subconsciously, which she calls "Sammy's", and soon finds that the 'death heads' aren't random at all; they match perfectly to the headstone of one Samantha Forsythe, a descendant of some of the founding fathers of the town, who had died (or, was she murdered?) nearly 200 years previously.

Very well-written and engaging, however I found the storyline to be a bit lacking, in that it was never really explained WHY this ghost reached out to Clare specifically. Overall, tho, I enjoyed the read, and imagine I will look for others by this author
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to YA October 17, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'll admit that I'm still relatively new to the YA genre. When I began reading this book, I wasn't really sure what to expect from it. It didn't take me very long to figure out that there was a lot of tension between the characters and the paranormal aspect of the story helped to keep the level of tension high throughout the whole story until the mystery was solved. This book is one of those that once you begin reading, it's hard to put down for very long.

From the beginning, the reader is shown the major conflict within Clare's family. Everyone is having a hard time with the divorce. Each of the main characters are giving a chance to reveal the pain and damage that the upheaval in the family has done to them. Written from Clare's point of view, we do see more of her angst and turmoil and yes, it's of the teenage variety. She's sixteen. I wouldn't expect anything less. The author also shows us the hurt and turmoil of her twenty-something sister, her mother and even her father. It's these glimpses that help to make the characters feel real and distinct from one another.

The story doesn't slack off in the pacing department. Once things begin happening in earnest for Clare, they continue until they reach the very end. I expected a few twists and turns and thought I had everything figured out until the last couple of chapters. What I had been envisioning wasn't what happened. It was a pleasant surprise even as it made me sad. There was a nice blend of action sequences and times where the characters paused to catch their breath.

In truth, this book was a good way to spend a chilly evening. I enjoyed the history and scientific lessons included within the hunt for answers. It all added up to a good read that went fairly quick. If you're looking for a good, first step into the YA genre that's not overbearing, this is among one of the books you should try.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars New and original paranormal mystery
The Grave Artist is not your typical paranormal mystery. There are no vampires or werewolves or evil spirits. Read more
Published 18 days ago by kwadzana
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome book !!
I could not put this book down! It's written so well and the plot is gripping. You won't be able to put it down either!
Published 22 days ago by Barbara A. Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars SF
You know I really wasn't to sure from the description if I would like this book, but I really liked the cover and the title so I gave it a shot. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
I'm not big on ghost-type stories, but I'd actually give this 4-1/2 stars. Well written, spooky, entertaining, with likable characters and a good ending. I recommend it.
Published 1 month ago by Tom O. Powell
5.0 out of 5 stars good story, strong characters
I really enjoyed Ms. Johnson's story. The main character is well fleshed and likable, and the character of Samantha is brought to life in her descriptions. Read more
Published 1 month ago by 2 cuties mommy
5.0 out of 5 stars WOWSERS!
I thought this was a terrific read; the characters were interesting, the pacing of the book reminded me of Jackson's The Haunting. Read more
Published 1 month ago by G. Athena Stewart
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Its a catchy story
Published 2 months ago by Amber Moschel
3.0 out of 5 stars Hope there is another.
This was a good book. The main characters were interesting. I didn't care for the family issues that are included. They didn't move the story along. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Toni J. Mortensen
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book!!!
Ending could have been better, but the story line was well developed, and the characters were easy to like. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Grave
A unique story that pulled me right along with it, with just the right amount of the creepy factor for me/
Published 3 months ago by E. Scott
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More About the Author

Paula Lynn Johnson loves a good ghost story. She's a former English major and attorney living in central New Jersey with her husband, kids, cat, dog, and killer rabbit. She adores them all, even the killer rabbit.

Paula also loves a good laugh! You can read her short, humorous pieces in her essay collection, Watch Out For Snakes!, as well as on sites like The Big Jewel and Errant Parent.

Paula indulges her love for antique photography on her blog, You can also visit her at

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