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The Harrowing (A Ghost Story) Kindle Edition

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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: 624 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Murderati Ink (December 9, 2011)
  • Publication Date: December 9, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006K5RVXI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,330 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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 Thriller Award-nominated, Amazon bestselling Huntress/FBI series (HUNTRESS MOON, BLOOD MOON, COLD MOON, WOLF 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 three non-fiction workbooks: SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS, STEALING HOLLYWOOD, and WRITING LOVE, based on her internationally acclaimed workshops and blog (, 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 like a fiend. She is also very active on Facebook. But not an addict. Seriously, it's under control.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Doris Ann Norris on 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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41 of 51 people found the following review helpful By FangsFirst on 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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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amy Aldrich on 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 races along, no dead spots, no'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 it and you'll see what I mean! It even managed to creep me out, reading it home alone, foolishly enough, during thunder 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 By Vincent H. Oneil on August 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Alexandra Sokoloff's debut novel The Harrowing is simply jam-packed with all the things that make for a good horror story. Baird College's creepy Mendenhall dormitory, known to its residents as The Hall, (Hell?) is the feature location, with wings that become distressingly similar once the place empties out for Thanksgiving and all the doors are closed. A stormy Thanksgiving break leaves the five main characters together in The Hall, where they quickly come to recognize the broken, empty, or lonely places in each other. Unfortunately, a malevolent spirit also recognizes those frailties, and manipulates them into releasing it from its dark realm of nothingness. The story is fast paced, but also plenty intellectual: It is filled from cover to cover with references to psychology, spiritualism, and religion that would seem out of place if the characters were not all college students. The action is not confined to The Hall, either, as the students move about over a landscape which includes a Stonehenge-like portion of the campus known as The Columns and a graveyard which holds the remains of a 1920s Baird student who had a fatal run-in with the same entity. Despite the dark nature of the conflict, Alexandra Sokoloff injects plenty of humor as well, from the main character's wry observations about her detestable prom queen roommate to the hilarious appearance of two teen slackers at a moment of high tension. The characters are well drawn, with voices and personalities of their own, and the ending is far from predictable. Don't wait for Hallowe'en to pick this up.
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