From Publishers Weekly
Talented African-American authors Banks (The Shadows
), Massey (Don't Ever Tell
) and Due (Blood Colony
) explore ancestral roots in intriguing horror novellas. Banks puts a time-travel twist into Ev'ry Shut Eye Ain't Sleep, in which antique dealer Abe Morgan helps a friend, Rashid Jackson, protect Aziza, Rashid's granddaughter, from the shades after Aziza inherits her grandmother's house. In Massey's The Patriarch, a crime novelist brings his fiancée to Coldwater, Miss., to introduce her to his mom's kinfolk, but runs afoul of a powerful family secret. Due's Ghost Summer, the best of the trio, also works as a YA novel. Davie Stephens, who's determined to become a 12-year-old ghost buster, and various family members find themselves haunted by a 1909 cold case in Graceville, Fla. All three contributors successfully combine scary themes with rich historical detail. (Dec.)
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Three well-known thriller writers employ the novella to depict people learning more about their roots than any sane person would want to know. The undertone all three share is cautionary: listen to your elders before you try anything to the slightest degree dubious. In Banks’ Ev’ry Shut Eye Ain’t Sleep, a young attorney prepares to dispose of his grandmother’s property, only to discover that it was much more valuable and necessary than she could have imagined. In Brandon’s Massey’s Patriarch, a young writer returns to the family home in Mississippi to find an old feud coming back to life and to learn that not all of his forebears were fully human. In Tananarive Due’s Ghost Summer, ancestors haunt the nights of two children, which leads to the revelation of an old wrong. Fun to read and good models for nascent genre practitioners. --Frieda Murray