by Cynthia Chow
Details on how to win a copy of The Skeleton Takes a Bow (another perfect book for the Halloween season) at the end of this review, along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL.
As an adjunct university professor and the mother of a teenager, Georgia Thackery is savvy to attempts of manipulation. When her dog is walked and chores are done without nagging or complaint, Georgia knows something’s up. Her daughter Madison just won a part in her high school play and thinks their housemate, Sid, will be perfect for the role of Yorick. Sid is a sentient, talkative, and completely animated skeleton, so it’s undeniable Sid is qualified to play the part of a skull. Sid has been a part of Georgia’s life since he rescued her when she was six years old. The reveal of his existence to Madison has been a little rocky. Georgia agrees to allow Sid (well, his head) to have the opportunity to experience the world outside of their home.
When Sid is inadvertently left behind in the school theater, he hears a man being murdered. While no body or evidence turns up, Georgia knows being hidden in her house for decades has perfected Sid’s eavesdropping skills. Georgia manages to get herself hired as a replacement SAT instructor within Madison’s school to investigate the death and protect Madison.
While the debut of this series had fun exploring the eccentricities of adjunct professors within a university, here the author revels in the chaos of high school, where the faculty are territorial, cliquish, and resentful of professors with doctorates. Parents are college admissions-obsessed and focused on creating their children’s perfect high school résumé.
What is so refreshing about this series is how the author creates a realistic, loving, and functional relationship between a single mother and her teenaged daughter. Of course they drive each other crazy at times but Georgia respects and trusts Madison enough to allow her daughter to share her problems without invading her privacy. Just as fascinating, is the depiction of Sid, who becomes startlingly realistic and sympathetic as he suffers from an existential mid-life (?) crisis and struggles to establish a sense of purpose within the Thackery household. The humor and wit are razor sharp, whether poking fun at high school academia or at the normal bedlam in a household with a teenager. The plot succeeds in connecting various threads in an unexpected but logical conclusion. Leigh Perry, the pen name of Toni Kelner, shines in this delightfully funny and unique series that blends paranormal with mystery and academic satire.
To enter to win a copy of The Skeleton Takes a Bow, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Skeleton,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 11, 2014. U.S. residents only.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.
Click on this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL!