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The Harrowing (A Ghost Story) [Kindle Edition]

Alexandra Sokoloff
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

---- Bram Stoker and Anthony Award Nominee for Best First Novel ----

Baird College's Mendenhall echoes with the footsteps of the last home-bound students heading off for Thanksgiving break, and Robin Stone swears she can feel the creepy, hundred-year-old residence hall breathe a sigh of relief for its long-awaited solitude. Or perhaps it's only gathering itself for the coming weekend.

As a massive storm dumps rain on the isolated campus, four other lonely students reveal themselves: Patrick, a handsome jock; Lisa, a manipulative tease; Cain, a brooding musician; and finally Martin, a scholarly eccentric. Each has forsaken a long weekend at home for their own secret reasons.

The five unlikely companions establish a tentative rapport, but they soon become aware of a sixth presence disturbing the ominous silence that pervades the building. Are they the victims of a simple college prank taken way too far, or is the unusual energy evidence of something genuine---and intent on using the five students for its own terrifying ends? It's only Thursday afternoon, and they have three long days and dark nights before the rest of the world returns to find out what's become of them. But for now it's just the darkness keeping company with five students nobody wants and no one will miss.

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Reviews:

"Poltergeist meets The Breakfast Club as five college students tangle with an ancient evil presence. Plenty of sexual tension... quick pace and engaging plot."
--- Kirkus Reviews

'Absolutely gripping...It is easy to imagine this as a film...Once started, you won't want to stop reading'
---London Times

'Sokoloff's debut novel is an eerie ghost story that captivates readers from page one. The author creates an element of suspense that builds until the chillingly believable conclusion."'
--Romantic Times

What better thing could strangers isolated in a big, near-deserted building while a raging storm takes out the electricity and compels the use of flickering candles possibly discover than an ancient, charred Ouija board? The previously unacquainted in question are five students sitting out Thanksgiving weekend in a 100-year-old residence hall. And that Ouija board turns wicked, of course, when it manifests a ghost named Zachary, who turns the place into a chaotic battleground for the forces of evil versus cosmic goodness and light. What seemed a sick joke one of the five was playing on the others has morphed into a situation in which no one can be trusted. Sokoloff sustains pace and suspense while encouraging the reader to identify with Robin, a young woman from a poor, alcohol-ravaged family, who yearns for acceptance. Will she get it from the all-American jock she lusts for; the slutty tease; the quiet, intellectual rabbi's son; and the brooding musician who are her companions for this scary ordeal? Good, engrossing fun.

--- Booklist, Whitney Scott (© American Library Association)

"The Harrowing is a real page-turner, a first novel of unusual promise."
---Ira Levin

"The Harrowing is a find: fast, original, and genuinely creepy."
---F. Paul Wilson

"Alexandra Sokoloff conjures up a demon older than time and humanity and yet rooted in modern psychology. She brings all her skills as a screenwriter to a tale of supernatural terror as swift as a film."
---Ramsey Campbell

"Sokoloff's debut novel is a furiously paced, deftly plotted joy, bursting at the seams with disquieting imagery and carrying a disturbingly dark undercurrent. It gave me a nightmare…and that's rare."
---Tim Lebbon

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About the Author

ALEXANDRA SOKOLOFF is the Thriller Award-winning author of THE UNSEEN, THE PRICE, THE SHIFTERS, THE SPACE BETWEEN, THE HARROWING and the Huntress FBI series (HUNTRESS MOON). She is a produced screenwriter and the author of the writing workbooks SCREENWRITING TRICK


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of screenwriter Sokoloff's first novel, a teen terror flick in prose, generic Baird College is emptying out for Thanksgiving break, but a few stalwart students have decided to stay on campus to avoid going home to their dysfunctional families. One night, under the influence of booze and drugs, they whip out a ouija board and inadvertently summon what they believe is the spirit of a student who died there decades before. In truth, it's something nastier, and the quintet spend the rest of the story desperately trying to send back to the void an evil entity that won't go gently. The characters, who include the mousy good girl and the nerd whose scholarly skepticism grows increasingly grating with each repeat expression, develop little personality outside of their carefully crafted types. The pyrotechnic climax, in which the kids prove unusually adept at occult subterfuge, stretches credibility but provides a suitably cinematic finale. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up–Robin, an outcast college student, has problems connecting with others because of her dark past. When she stays at school over the Thanksgiving holiday, she believes that she is alone in the gothic castle of a dormitory. However, four other students are also there. The first evening, they find themselves in a lounge together, and, after drinking and smoking pot, they discover a Ouija board. When Robin and another girl use it, they connect with a spirit who calls himself Zachary, a student who died in a fire in the dorm years before. But the five students have actually contacted something far more sinister and dangerous than a ghost. Soon the question becomes whether any of them will survive the encounter. The book reads like the script of a low-budget horror movie, and the characters never rise above stereotypes. Additionally, the story is undermined by the rushed ending. Skip this derivative work in favor of more original titles.–Tasha Saecker, Menasha Public Library, WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 335 KB
  • Print Length: 245 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0312357486
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Murderati Ink (December 9, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006K5RVXI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,160 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A praise-worthy debut August 24, 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've seen THE HARROWING compared to teen horror films, but I'm almost two millennia away from being a young adult and have never seen a teen horror/slasher movie. I avoided them like the plague even when I was reviewing a movie weekly for our daily newspaper.

But I do like ghost stories and once I started reading the book, I couldn't put it down. I thought the characterizations of the five college students was great. The build-up is superb as the five bored students, staying at Baird College for the Thanksgiving break, find an ouija board and strange things begin to happen.

It someone playing tricks or have these students actually contacted someone from "beyond," specifically a young man who died years before in a fire at the school?

The tension mounts as the "odd" group of students begin to form alliances and try to figure out what is happening to them. Did they "release" a tortured soul trying to affect some kind of closure, or has a more malevolent force been unleashed?

I found myself really caring about these young people and being pulled into their struggle. The information on the Kabbalah

and other Jewish folklore is fascinating.

The plot moves at a great pace and I certainly can see this as a movie, which isn't surprising since the author, Ms. Sokoloff, is a long-time screenwriter.

I bought a few copies, after reading the ARC, for some lucky people on my Christmas list. Highly recommended
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31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sad clichés...and little more. December 14, 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's not often I feel the need to openly review books, but I'm shocked at the praise, nominations and positive reviews being lavished on this book. I made sure to finish it in case I was just getting a silly impression from the beginning, in case something suddenly caught on at some point that was original and interesting.

No such luck. The characters are blatant stereotypes--the "jock," the "slut," the "nerd," the "bad boy/rocker," and our homely heroine Robin who is depressed.

The back of the book proudly proclaims that Sokoloff built the "psychological undercurrents" from her experience dealing with "emotionally disturbed and incarcerated teenagers." I kept waiting for an "undercurrent" behind the blatant pop-psychology and complete lack of understanding applied to all of these characters, and it never came. I had to wonder if she ever really listened to these teenagers, or asked them anything. I've known my fair share of "emotionally disturbed teenagers"--and they don't act like this.

Robin is a stereotypically depressed teen/college student, but doesn't act much like a real one (I've known my fair share). Martin, the "nerd," is written like someone trying to sound smart, rather than the smug, self-assured legitimate intelligence that comes from the type of character Sokoloff seems to be trying to write. It's clunky, awkward and feels like it was carefully but ignorantly constructed.

The plotting, while I applaud the interesting and unusual inclusion of Kabbalistic mythology (I even learned a few things), is standard at best, which offends me far more in horror than something unusual that misfires.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simply Delicious! August 26, 2006
Format:Hardcover
Delicious....this book was something I desperately needed...a good light fiction read that also was interesting, scary and troubling at the same time. Oh...what's that, Baird college students leave en masse for Thanksgiving and we are left with five lone students, one creepy gothic dorm and a dark and story night...who doesn't smell supernatural thrills???!! The Harrowing is somewhat typical in it's depiction of college students (jock, loner musician, nerd, slut, invisible chick) and reminiscent of a teen horror flick made into a book, but still, I really enjoyed the flawed characters, the Freudian psychology, and the overall tense, heavy feel of the book. It was sad and depressing, desperate and hopeful all at the same time and best of all...it races along, no dead spots, no lulls...it's a nonstop front to back spine tingling tale that weaves it's way from the present day, back to the 1920's and then back to creation and the kabala.I recommend it for ghost story and horror freaks like me...though it does purport to be a ghost story, it's really not, kinda, sorta, but not totally...read it and you'll see what I mean! It even managed to creep me out, reading it home alone, foolishly enough, during thunder storm...at night...I'll leave my rating at...simply delicious, you'll want to curl up with this on a chilly night with a blanket and a good cup of tea!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Harrowing by Alexandra Sokoloff
Mass Market Paperback - October 30, 2007
4 Stars

Robin Stone is a troubled young woman. Her means of escape from her unbalanced mother was by running away to college paid with guilt money from her absentee father.

Still, she remains unhappy and depressed in the academic arena and feels like a shadow nobody will miss if she's gone. When Thanksgiving comes, she stays in the echoing Mendenhall dormitories rather than going home to her mother for the long holiday weekend.

She finds that she's not alone and on the first night with the help of drugs and alcohol she makes friends with the unlikely mixture of remaining students: Martin, Patrick, Cain and Lisa.

Lisa finds a Ouija board. Its uncanny responses freak everybody. Have they really contacted the spirit of Zackary Prince or is she the blunt of a practical joke? And then it gets stranger.

The Harrowing is not a book you want to read when you go to bed unless you plan on sleeping with your eyes open and listening for the bump in the night. Especially when you read Chapter Twenty-One!

Ms. Sokoloff is a talented writer. She drew characters with personal insecurities, placed them in a recognizable setting, and then threw in paranormal elements, causing me to become quickly caught into the story. I accepted that stretch when reality told a step away. I look forward to reading her next book.

Reviewed by Jackie from Bookaholics Romance Book Club
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars More than a ghost story
The Harrowing is a super creepy tale of ancient evil. However it also is somehow uplifting, reminding me how precious love and friendship is.
Published 1 day ago by Andrea Strickland
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!!
This was a very Exciting Book!! A little scary, but extremely written very well. I had a hard time putting it down!! A Great book to read!! Enjoy!!
Published 14 days ago by Lizzietish
3.0 out of 5 stars If You Believe in Demons
If you believe in demons, you're in for a scary ride. If you don't, this is still a well written tale of good vs evil. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Barbara Harrison
3.0 out of 5 stars too sci-fi for me
I've read two of her books which edged on the occult, and think her writing is wonderful. But this one immediately went into names of beings other than humans, categorized... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Linda D. Hill
4.0 out of 5 stars Scary & Sinister
Sometimes I love reading books that are more than just a story and I can learn something from it as well. Read more
Published 2 months ago by The most awesome Bookworm
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Just....Wow!!
Could not put this down!! Would make a great movie. Second book I have read of hers and I am hooked!
Published 2 months ago by Shelly Terry
5.0 out of 5 stars At last--a ghost story that works!
I love ghost stories, but I agree with the late Roald Dahl-- it's hard to find a really good ghost story. And it's damnably hard to write one. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Janet L. Massa
3.0 out of 5 stars Just ok!
I liked it ok, but just really didn't get into it like I like to do, thus, the "ok" rating.
Published 3 months ago by Ann Tarter
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Ghost Story Ever
The characters in this story are so vivid that you feel you know them personally, which makes the tale even more horrifying.
Published 4 months ago by Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Do Not Read This When You are Alone!
I downloaded this book for free on my Kindle and I am so glad I did. I really love a good ghost story and this one did not disappoint! Creepy and scary from the very beginning. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Victoria
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More About the Author

Alexandra Sokoloff is the Thriller Award-winning and Bram Stoker, Anthony, and Black Quill Award-nominated author of the supernatural thrillers THE HARROWING, THE PRICE, THE UNSEEN, BOOK OF SHADOWS, THE SHIFTERS, and THE SPACE BETWEEN, and the Amazon bestselling new FBI thriller series HUNTRESS MOON. The New York Times Book Review called her a "daughter of Mary Shelley", and her books "Some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre."

As a screenwriter she has sold original horror and thriller scripts and adapted novels for numerous Hollywood studios. She has also written two non-fiction workbooks: SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS and WRITING LOVE, based on her internationally acclaimed workshops and blog (ScreenwritingTricks.com), and has served on the Board of Directors of the WGA, west and the Board of the Mystery Writers of America.

Alex is a California native and a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, where she majored in theater and minored in everything Berkeley has a reputation for. In her spare time (!) she performs with Heather Graham's all-author Slush Pile Players, and dances - anywhere, any time, any style, with anyone. At all.

Learn more at http://alexandrasokoloff.com

Follow:

http://twitter.com/alexsokoloff
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