| Book Review |
Anonymous – Christine Benedict

Anonymous is a fascinating tale, based on true-life events, of Greg and Debra who after moving in their country house discover creepy things taking place. 

| Introduction |

It is the year 1984 and young couple Debra and Greg have entered upon the biggest event of their lives: they have bought the 14 rooms big old farmhouse, lying in 50 acres of ground. It has been thoroughly neglected and where Greg is enthusiastic and ready to work on the house, Debra is not so sure, to her the house seems a “haunted-looking monstrosity”.

| Storyline |

Greg is a self-employed contractor who has always worked with his hands.so in his spare time he can work on the house. Most of the time, however, Debra will be home alone amidst the huge leftovers of what once was an impressive farmhouse. It seems everywhere is a door barely hanging on, a floorboard creaking and the wind taking the opportunity to blow through the cracks in the walls. Debra is scared to death as she suspects the chill in the air cannot be explained by natural causes. To fully understand why Debra is so apprehensive of the old house’s atmosphere we go back to her youth – her mentally ill mother who was able to hear what wasn’t there and who was responsible for killing her father with a shotgun.  The shotgun is in Debra’s possession now, but she dares not take it in her hands. Debra knows the mental illness is hereditary and her biggest nightmare is ending up like her mother.

Debra feels the house will never be a home to her as long as the chilliness is there the footsteps are being heard suggesting the presence of haunting ghosts. The basement is the scariest where the spiders and snakes are not the only creatures creeping her out. Sometimes, a tool she uses ends up somewhere else and Debra fears for her imagination running wild or is it the mental illness appearing in her? Debra knows Greg is watching her, wondering whether she has lost her mind. But not all is bad in her new farmhouse. There are friendly neighbours like the lovely old couple and Julie and Kyle with their two sons. When Julie and Debra go jogging together Julie tells her that a secret admirer is sending her anonymous letters, wanting to meet her in person. Julie is terrified, in his aggravation her husband Kyle accuses her of longing for the admirer’s advances.  Debra is glad Julie confided in her as it keeps her mind off her house.

Because something happened there: Debra finds out that the previous owner, a young man, was electrocuted in the basement. Now she feels she understands who the ghost is but why does he keep hanging on and scare the life out of her? And why is that creep Bruce, supposed to take the many stray cats to the asylum, enjoying killing them one by one? We feel the suspense hanging in the air while we have a look into the creep’s mind and see how violent and threatening he can be and what shocking events he plans. Meanwhile, Kyle is so furious he is getting both secretive and violent and Julie is shocked to see that he has hidden a pile of anonymous letters to her. Is this a stalker or what? As the thrilling events start to unroll we wonder if the shadows of both Debra’s and Julie’s past will finally overcome them as the threatening danger is lurking everywhere and rapidly closing in.

| My Thoughts |

This is an exciting thriller, set in the beautiful countryside of Greater Cleveland. The novel is a mix of suspense, of coming to terms with the past, of haunting houses, but also of human kindness versus plain evil. Sometimes the words are intentionally given a double meaning and we only learn afterwards which interpretation was the correct one. There are a few inconsistencies, such as the age of Debra (21 in 1984 – later on in the same year mentioned as the 24-year old) but that in no way detracts from the captivating plot and the entertaining style in which the novel is written. Interestingly, the novel is based on true-life events of the author herself.

| About the Author |

Christine Benedict

Christine Benedict has won several nominations such as the Nomination for the 2015 IAN Book of the Year and she is the Winner of the 2015 Eric Hoffer Book Award.  This is what prompted the author to write the novel:“The story was inspired by my 100-year-old farmhouse where the neighbours say it’s haunted. All the letters in the novel are actual letters from the man who stalked me. It’s been twenty-plus years and he remains anonymous to this day.”

| Book Info |

 Paperback   304 pages
 Publisher   Loconeal Select (21 Jun.  2014)
 Language   English
 ISBN-10  194046613X
 ISBN-13  978-1940466132

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