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Haunt Me Still Hardcover – April 15, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult (April 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052595077X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525950776
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #706,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Agreeing to direct Shakespeare's notoriously ill-starred Scottish play plunges scholar-sleuth Kate Stanley into a cauldron of trouble in this heady, occult-steeped thriller, the sequel to Interred with Their Bones. The reclusive Lady Nairn, decades earlier the bewitching actress Janet Douglas, plans a production featuring priceless Macbeth-linked antiquities, her own return to the stage, and—if Kate can find it—a rumored earlier version of the play said to include actual magic rites. No sooner does the cast assemble at Lady Nairn's Scottish castle, however, than all hell breaks loose. Kate's hallucinatory vision of the savaged body of Lady Nairn's granddaughter foreshadows two very real murders—with Kate a prime suspect. Carrell deftly uses literary scholarship as a springboard for her plot, especially the suspense-building leaps back to Shakespeare's day. She's less successful with the supernatural elements, which increasingly strain credulity, and an anemic romantic subplot.(Apr.)
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From Booklist

The quest for knowledge, particularly forbidden knowledge, is at the heart of this literary thriller based on the premise that Shakespeare’s Macbeth originally included magical rites omitted by the playright after a young actor died before the play’s premiere. Acclaimed actress Lady Nairn recruits Kate Stanley, academic-turned-Shakespearean-director, to find the original manuscript and stage the play, immersing Kate in a deadly hunt involving the occult. Trying to save Nairn’s granddaughter from unseen forces that also want the manuscript, Kate travels from Scotland to London to New York and back, with timely assistance from her former lover, security expert Ben Pearl. The foreboding atmosphere, during which brutal ritual murders are committed, is interrupted by sixteenth- and seventeenth-century accounts that build the case for the novel’s thesis, based on Carrell’s considerable research (as explained in an afterword). While Shakespeare scholars may quibble (as they did with the author’s previous novel, Interred with Their Bones, 2007) and while explication of arcane information occasionally impedes action, general readers are likely to be swept along as the level of danger increases, with the ongoing relationship between Kate and Ben a bonus. --Michele Leber

More About the Author

Author of novels and history. Writing curve: smallpox, Shakespeare, art. Currently at work on historical fiction about my favorite painting, Jan Van Eyck's Arnolfini Wedding.

I've wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Early on, my fallback career choices were ballerina and astronaut. Much later, I thought I'd become a Shakespeare professor. Through some strange twists and turns, I've circled back to writing.

I was born in Washington, D.C., but I grew up in Arizona. I have a Ph.D. in English from Harvard, along with undergraduate degrees from Oxford and Stanford. I was first pulled into studying literature by the Arthurian legend, and later by Norse sagas, Tolkien, and Shakespeare; my father jokes that I majored in fairy tales. It was something of a surprise to find myself writing thrillers; now I'm turning to historical fiction. Before I began to write books full time, I taught literature and writing at Harvard. Later, I was the classical music critic for the Arizona Daily Star. I've also written a number of pieces for the Smithsonian Magazine.

Here's what I think about writing: Storytelling should be an adventure, not just the stringing-together of other people's adventures. On the trail of stories, I have: rappelled from a six-story tower using an emergency hand-tied halter (while writing about the training of firefighters); tracked mountain lions on mule-back through the mountain range Geronimo used as home base and hideout; held Yo-Yo Ma's cello; ridden the roller-coaster ride of a professional cutting horse (herding cattle); and posed for David Hockney on a BBC set while stuffed into a medieval gown originally made for Star Trek, with a red-velvet turban improvised from a set of men's pants perched on my head. From the sublime to the ridiculous -- and all of it wondrous

I live in Tucson, AZ, with my husband, son, one very ancient golden retriever, and three cats (who try to help me type out my manuscripts).

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Customer Reviews

Before anything else is said in the book.
My only complaint was that it started a bit slow for me, and I did get a little confused with all the characters.
Amazon Customer
There are lots of quotes from Shakespeare and lots of historical information from that time period.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Isch TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really loved Jennifer Lee Carrell's first Kate Stanley mystery/thriller, "Interred With Their Bones," about the search for a missing Shakespeare play; this one, about the search for both a missing earlier version of a key scene in "Macbeth" and a missing 15-year-old girl, not so much.

What is it, I wonder, about all these disappointing second novels from authors whose first novels made a huge, huge splash--Julia Glass and Joshua Ferris, for example, and now Carrell: Are they pushed relentlessly by agents and publishers to get the next one into print while their name and fame is still hot? Or were they just trying too hard to top themselves and it showed?

In the notes at the back of this book Carrell credits her editors and agent with nursing her through "a writers' block of cursed proportion." Maybe they should have just left her alone to work it out in its own good time. Because the result, while as erudite and intricate a puzzle as its predecessor, is a convoluted mess. It's overstuffed with characters but little character development--and hard enough to keep them all straight, let alone get invested in what happens to them. Actually there's just too much of just about everything: witches and witchery, curses and cauldrons, rites and rituals, murders and murderers, myths, mirrors, magic, madness, mayhem, manuscripts, a multiplicity of crazed killers, kidnappers, knives, guns, explosions, whispered threats, 16th Century history, a constant parade of nonstop narrow escapes with lots of racing and chasing hither and thither around the heather and down dark corridors and even across the Atlantic, with rarely ever any slowing of pace where the reader could catch a breath long enough to figure out what's going on or--by about the halfway point--even care anymore. Sad, to say, it was a chore just to plow through it all.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By the Peripatetic Gardener on April 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
`Haunt Me Still,' the sequel to the highly successful (and satisfying) `Interred in Their Bones,' is Jennifer Lee Carrell's latest offering in the romantic suspense genre.

Unfortunately, it seems more difficult to write that second novel in a series than the first. Readers' expectations run high, and sometimes the muse just fails. Carrell's novel lacks the panache and force of her earlier book.

`Haunt Me Still' picks up Shakespearian scholar and theatrical director Kate Stanley on her way to Scotland to direct a private production of `Macbeth.' And she is heading straight into the traditional 1950-ish suspense novel set up - lonely castle in the Highlands, antique daggers, witches, and the refrain `Don't go up the hill alone.' Right. Add to that a still lovely aged retired actress, a kidnapping, the occasional bloody body to stumble over, a lost manuscript, and all the usual romantic suspense elements have come together. And often it makes for a good, if predictable, read.

However, much of `Haunt Me Still' deals with the myths surrounding `Macbeth' the play. There are times in fiction when background can be a burden for author and reader alike, and that occurs here. Carrell spends far too much time on historical exposition and too little on character development.

Another problem that authors too often face with the second book in a series is what to do with the romantic interest developed in the first book. Readers of `Interred with Their Bones' may remember Ben Pearl the security expert that Kate rode happily off into the sunset with. Alas, it turned out to be a bumpy ride. Put bluntly, Ben has dumped Kate and moved on; Kate hasn't. Ben reappears here as a peripheral character.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Adams on August 3, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I can't review the story without making several comments about the electronic version of this book. I noticed that it's an e-book from the publisher, and you can definitely tell the difference. I was only about three chapters in when I noticed that for some reason all proper nouns beginning with the letter R are not capitalized. You may think that this is a minor annoyance, but it seriously interferes with the reading and enjoyment of the story, especially when one of the quasi-central characters is named Ravensbrook . . . and she traveled to Rome. Other glaring word replacements ("in" for "is" and the like) make it a real challenge to get through a chapter without wishing you'd bought the print version.

As for the story, I felt that the introduction to the main characters and premise was exceedingly rushed. It's almost as if the writer were in such a hurry to get to the meat and bones of the mystery that she only gave lip service introductions: "Here is Lady Nairn. Here is her Niece. Here's that guy the protagonist is obviously still in love with."

When the action picked up dramatically, I had to mentally stay with the game in order to get interested, because the author hadn't spent enough time making me care about any of the characters. The niece is in danger? Big deal! She's a spoiled brat! Why should I care about what happens to her?

A little more time spent in setting the scene and investing in more than one dimension of the characters would have paid handsome dividens here. As it is, I read through the last one-tenth of the book only to find out how the story ends . . . not because I cared about any of the characters caught up in the escapade.

If "Interred With Their Bones" was an uneven novel, this one is even more so.
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