Kathleen McKenna's explosive third novel 'The Wedding Gift' excels in so many categories it defies them all. It is a spine-electrifying supernatural tale where a huge Southern States mansion contains one of the most terrifying, violent and indeed psychopathic ghosts to haunt any town. It is also a murder mystery - why did Robina Willets apparently kill all five of her young children, and her husband, before stabbing herself to death? And, if you are in the camp of believing that 'justice .... just is not', then this will have you frothing at the mouth with righteous social fury. Add to that the vision of two exceptionally beautiful girls lying on a landing stage in the middle of a secluded lake, sleeping naked in the sun .... .... and then see if you can find any consecutive ten minutes in this book when you don't at least snicker at the heroine Leeann's sly, caustic, sometimes-knowing sometimes 'too stupid to live' commentary. "Several times in the 'The Wedding Gift' Kathleen McKenna has the narrator bursting out with phrases like 'Oh shoot, hell yeah, he was grinning like an egg suck dog' or words to that affect. Well, that was me she was describing throughout the book, grinning like an egg suck dog. I don't know what one of those might be, but I sure want to be one," Tim Roux, author of 'Missio' and 'The Dance of the Pheasodile'.
About the Author
Kathleen Mckenna is a transplanted Alaskan who spent twelve years on her first paragraph and now lives and writes prolifically in the opposite kind of desert in New Mexico. She has written eight novels to date and recently nearly lost all eight when her laptop and her back-up drive failed simultaneously. At the last count, seven had been recovered. ?The Wedding Gift? is Kathleen?s third novel, the first of a supernatural trilogy. The second in the series, ?The Comeback?, will be published by Night Publishing in late 2010. So I had a chance to ask Kathleen what the back story was on this big story and this is what she said:
I had just spent three years researching and writing the darkest book of my life on Jonestown, a story of unrelenting horror and human ugliness which by the end had made me certain that there were no more books left in me, unless...unless I could do something totally different. Write complete fiction and create a funny charming world, but also I am a lifetime lover of horror fiction, especially ghost stories. I cut my teeth on classic King, and I had finally come to understand that he was not going to write a sequel to The Shining for me no matter how badly I wanted him too! I hated the endless vampire stuff coming out, with the exception of Charlaine Harris's totally charming work. So I decided to throw my hat into the ring, I took a long walk and thought about that beautiful house in the Garden District I had once seen and wondered what if a beautiful small town homecoming queen from no money got to live there, fulfilling all her dreams but then found out it was terribly haunted, but then how would she have obtained the house in the first place? Ah yes, she married into money and the house was a tongue in cheek wedding gift from the in-laws who hated her and that started my writing.
HERE'S WHAT I THINK:
First off I have to give a heads up that the "voice" of this book takes some getting used to. The book is written from the point of view of the main character, Leann, and it is ask if she is just sitting next to you telling your a story with all her Southern charm. Secondly, I think McKenna has created an all new genre of Comedic Murder/Mystery. This story literally makes you laugh and gasp in horror all in the same paragraph. It does take a little bit to really get going, but once it is moving you better hold one. I tell you what, I totally thought I had it figured out but I was so far off the mark I almost couldn't believe it as I was reading the words. McKenna created this completely plausible scenario and then writes with such fluidity that you can practically see it as a motion picture in your mind's eye. If you like a good ol' ghost story, this is it!!
Disclaimer: Although I did receive a copy of this book from Night Publishing Group, I was in no other way compensated to write this review.