Review: Whistling In the Dark ~ Lesley Kagen

Whistling in the darkIt was the summer on Vliet Street when we all started locking our doors…

Sally O’Malley made a promise to her daddy before he died. She swore she’d look after her sister, Troo. Keep her safe. But like her Granny always said-actions speak louder than words. Now, during the summer of 1959, the girls’ mother is hospitalized, their stepfather has abandoned them for a six pack, and their big sister, Nell, is too busy making out with her boyfriend to notice that Sally and Troo are on the Loose. And so is a murderer and molester.

Highly imaginative Sally is pretty sure of two things. Who the killer is. And that she’s next on his list. Now she has no choice but to protect herself and Troo as best she can, relying on her own courage and the kindness of her neighbors.

Part of the ‘A Book from every State of the Union’ Reading Challenge – Wisconsin.

3 Thumbs-UpThis is a great little read packed full of things that are part of life in small town USA; or is it?  At times this book had so much going on in it, the town seemed crowded.  This is also a debut novel from this Author

The book is told through the words of a child narrator who has seen more than her fair share of troubles and hardship so early on in life.  I found the way in which this character provided the dialogue to be fairly believable of someone her age who had experienced the things she had, as at times her words changed from that of a child to those of someone so much older; to me this revealed the inner conflict in her as she battled within herself to be the child she was, or the adult that was expected of her, and I thought that the Author was able to portray this side of her personality very well.  Like the child she is though, she often misinterprets ‘adult’ conversations, and after a while this became rather tiring.  The main problem I found with all the characters in this book were that they were not very deeply developed and struggled to maintain their two-dimensional persona, and it was this lack of the development of what could have been some very interesting characters in this book that made me rate it a three thumbs.

Although this book is a little slow at first, it soon picks up and is an ideal book for a wet day when there is nothing else to take your fancy.  It is full of 1950’s nostalgia, childhood innocence and also darkly disturbing scenes.  For those who are offended by same-sex relationships, there is one featured in this book and this may mean you want to give the book a miss.  However, it is not overplayed to the point where it dominates, and is not dealt with in an insensitive manner, so readers may be able to skim over this portion if they are otherwise enjoying this book.

I would recommend this book to those who are looking for their next book club read, as it is sure to be the stepping off point for some interesting discussion, and I will be reading more by this Author in the future to see how their character development evolves as they become more confident.