“Feelings of utter sorrow and loneliness hit me in a wave. I sagged, holding onto the door for support as I choked back an involuntary sob. But I knew right away that those feelings weren’t my own. I knew it was my gift soaking up powerful emotions from someone—something—else.” In A Place of Shadows by David Lafferty, Ben Wolf and his mother Connie moved to Windward Cove after she inherited a property and a considerable sum of money from her late aunt, Claire Black. Gifted with a sixth sense, Ben instantly detects a presence in the cupola as they are settling into Claire's former house. When his mother's health is badly affected by a dark entity, Ben has to find answers to the mystery of the Black family house, one connected to the tragedy that occurred in the 1940s, before it's too late.
From its simple beginning, David Lafferty’s A Place of Shadows becomes increasingly intriguing, complicated and terrifying. Its steady plot easily creates the jittery and chilling moments which are deftly described with clean prose and an engaging narrative. The drama and suspense are balanced with realism and relief, including the casual stroke of humor. The characterization is solid and the protagonists are easy to root for. I found it admirable that despite his hidden ability and experiencing weird events in his new house, Ben still has a healthy sense of skepticism. I gravitated towards self-professed paranormal enthusiast Abigail ‘Ab’ Chambers who becomes the vital voice of reason for Ben in his mission to unravel the mystery and save his mother. It’s an absolute page-turner—a paranormal story that both YA and mature readers can enjoy. The subtle indication of a possible sequel in the epilogue gives me hope that Lafferty will give fans of the genre more ghost mysteries of Windward Cove.
A debut YA mystery weaves together threads of family and ghosts.
Ben Wolf has always been special, possessing empathic and clairvoyant abilities. Innate knowledge of the emotions of people around him as well as the locations of lost items and the facts of events he hasn’t seen has helped him out plenty in the past. But this talent has been hidden from everyone but his mother, as many might see it as freakish or frightening. The story is told from Ben’s point of view, and his matter-of-fact voice carries the early exposition and sets up the story effectively. As the narrative tension grows, readers also get a strong sense of his emotions as well as a feeling of immediacy that drives home some of the stranger happenings. Secrecy has allowed Ben to help people avoid disasters more than once, but secrets can also be dangerous or even deadly. When Ben’s distant Aunt Claire dies and leaves him and his mom a house in rural Windward Cove, California, their simple life is uprooted in more ways than one. At first, Ben is mostly concerned about starting high school in a new town, and he has little interest in his family ties to Windward Cove’s founding. But strange things soon start happening: cold spots, sudden feelings of depression and emptiness, odd laughter or strange voices. Ben needs every bit of his gift to find out why, and fast. Because, worst of all, his happy, outgoing, creative mom seems to be drawn to these haunting occurrences even more than he is, and the more time passes, the more they seem to take from her, until her very life is in jeopardy. Investigating the history of a place is a familiar trope for horror fans, but Ben’s powers and his family’s connection to the town put a novel spin on this idea and raise the emotional stakes. With solid, action-focused prose to drive Lafferty’s story forward, the pages keep turning and the mystery continues to unfold, offering readers of all ages a genuinely engrossing yarn.
Wistful and intriguing, this tale dips its toes in horror but feels like a dream more than a nightmare.
Quick Read - was TOO quick, over too soon!Wonderful book, gripped me from page 1! Relatable characters, just enough suspense, humor and wit, storyline moved along at a steady pace. Left me wanting another book by this author to read, please hurry David Lafferty ! -Karen Shipley
A great ghost Story.This story was such a fun and thrilling ghost story. It made me feel like I was at a campfire listening to someone speak about their haunted home. The entire story kept me interested from start to finish! I truly recommend -Amazon Customer
Couldn’t Stop Reading!I read A Place of Shadows in one 18-hour reading marathon. Given that I can’t get through a 3-page article anymore without getting distracted by Candy Crush, I found it remarkable that I was thoroughly captivated by this tale from start to finish. I found the characters of Ben, Ab, Les, (and let’s not forget Moe!) to be very likeable and interesting. As the story wove between modern time and the 1940’s, I particularly liked the notion of getting a glimpse into the youth of our elders - an exercise from which we could all benefit. I’m a total chicken about supernatural stories, and found this one to be spine-tingling without ever veering into horror. Well done, Mr. Lafferty! When may we have another? -Diana O’Dublin
Stunning Debut!Engrossing from the first page! This is a complex story that draws you in immediately. Written very elegantly. Looking forward to this writer's next effort. -NancyM
Couldn’t Put it Down. Great Book.David Lafferty’s A Place of Shadows is a delightful work. The style is comfortable, funny and engaging. Lafferty develops his characters so well you really feel like you know them and certainly find yourself cheering for them. Parts mystery, coming of age and ghost story this novel takes place in recent times with parts flashing back to the 40s. The descriptions are rich and nostalgic and certainly Mr Lafferty knows well the California he presents to us. I could not stop reading A Place of Shadows once I started it. Highly recommended for all audiences. -William Barbour
Suspenseful and Exciting. This book was thrilling from beginning to end, it kept me wanting more. I would recommend this book to my friends and am going to buy the book for one of my grandkids to read. I think she will love it as much as I do. Keep writing thses books. -Michele E. Knecht
Great fun readA fun read that takes you back to those awkward teen years, the joy of summer vacation and finding a new furry friend. Then the ghosts that keep you on the edge of your seat and make you wonder what will happen next. Great fun read! -Dora Shelton
When is the movie going to be released?I consider myself a serious reader - maybe even a bit on the "picky" side. From Tolkein to Brooks to Rowling, I have enjoyed reading fantasy and fiction since I was a youth. Dave Lafferty's "A Place of Shadows" is easily as enjoyable as the many books written by the aforementioned greats as it kept me on the edge of my seat, drew me in with believable and interesting characters and had me anticipating what comes next. I'd find myself staying up past my normal bedtime hour to defeat the "cliffhanger" monster, refusing to allow a mere chapter's end to torture me with unfulfilled curiosity. The writing is brilliant - flowing smoothly while offering colorful metaphors and perfectly chosen adjectives to paint a clear and obvious picture of the characters and surroundings. This book deserves ten stars, but only five were available. -Steve Koelling
I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Place of Shadows from beginning to end.Mr. Lafferty has created a wonderful mix of characters and settings that are both intriguing and charming. Ben Wolf and his supporting cast are deep, well thought out characters and the town of Windward Cove makes an excellent backdrop for their spooky adventures. It’s obvious with the care and detail given to all the aspects of the book that the author is familiar with the history and beauty that is coastal Northern California as well as being a great storyteller. The story ranged anywhere from eerie to humorous to adventurous really bringing me along in the story. The final pages of the book were bittersweet as I looked forward to the thrilling conclusion but didn’t want the tale to end. I look forward with great anticipation to the further adventures of Ben Wolf and Co. -Pete Briggs
This is a captivating, paranormal story.It holds your attention right to the end. I am not a reader, but I couldn’t put this book down. -Ray-Man
Great ghost story and captivating adventure.I wish this book would be made into a movie so I could really see all the spooky happenings. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading. The author does such a great job describing what’s happening that you can really visualize it all so clearly…which just adds to the spookiness. Enjoy! -Anonymous
An intriguing storyline right from the first chapter. I was immediately hooked. It kept me wanting more as I followed Ben Wolf through the struggles of juggling family, friends, and teenage life, as well as a mystery and a few ghosts! Humerous, tender, and exciting, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, even if you’re normally too scared of ghost stories. :) -Anonymous
Charming paranormal mystery for young adults. Great story. If you are a California resident this is very close to home. The author builds some great characters and draws you into this paranormal mystery. Perfect for the young adults in the family. Mr. Lafferty does a great job of depicting the thought processes of the average teen. Which, since we have all been one or are one, we can relate to. Very enjoyable and can’t wait for the next adventure. -Anonymous
What and amazing ghost story!I’m hardly a young adult, but I couldn’t put this book down and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who appreciates a good ghost story. The characters are engaging and easy to like, and the plot is mysterious, and a little creepy. -Anonymous
I took this book with me on vacation and couldn’t put it down. A great summer read! -Anonymous