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The Grave Artist by [Johnson, Paula Lynn]
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The Grave Artist Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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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: 1751 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Publication Date: March 12, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007JZT5A0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #884,857 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sandy S. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 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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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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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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The Grave Artist was a pretty great Paranormal Mystery! Clare has been drawing winged skulls constantly and she doesn't know why. In fact, most of the time she doesn't even remember drawing. According to her therapist, it must be her way of dealing with her parents' recent divorce. Clare thinks there's more to it, especially when she starts having strange dreams and sees her skull on a headstone of a young woman who died over 200 years ago.

I really liked The Grave Artist. Clare is being haunted and possibly possessed. Her mother is worried about her, as is her new friend Neil, who helps her so she doesn't get herself killed. I liked how the ghost was reaching her through art rather than other scary ways (I'm a wimp!), although there are a few moments where the ghost goes a bit too far in her communications.

I did solve the mystery really early. As soon as Clare gets the mysterious locket opened and the contents are identified, I had an AH HA moment! And I was right! It's quite scandalous! Well, scandalous for that time period. I do wish it hadn't been so obvious, even if I did enjoy this. Also, at the end, I really could not understand one character's reaction to the truth. They really make no sense given that all of these events they're worried about happened over 200 years ago. I started thinking that maybe they were harboring another related secret, but nope. It was just strange.

In the end, I liked The Grave Artist a lot. It's a quick, historical murder mystery with a paranormal twist. It kept me hooked from the beginning until the very end. There are a few parts that I wish had been elaborated on more, because as they stand, they seem like just random bits, but overall this was an enjoyable read.
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