The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

A Sudden Light


As I write this it’s Halloween Eve and the right time for ghost stories. A Sudden Light (A+) by Garth Stein sucked me in and didn’t let go until I was totally convinced that ghosts exist.

The author of The Art of Racing in the Rain (A) certainly knows how to approach a story from an odd angle. This time the narrator isn’t a dying dog but rather a young man who has contact with ghosts.

Trevor Riddell and his father have traveled to Seattle where the Riddell family’s decrepit estate lies on acres and acres overlooking the Puget Sound. The mansion was built from the trees that lived surrounding the estate. The family fortune was made from lumber taken from the nearby forest. Trevor and his Dad have arrived to convince his Alzheimer riddled grandfather to sign a power of attorney so that they can sell the land to real estate developers thus restoring the family’s wealth. The house and its former occupants have something to say about this and it’s Trevor who is clued in to their wishes by visits he has with ancestral ghosts. The ghosts have a story to tell, one that can’t be ignored. In order for Trevor to be successful, he has to convince his Dad, his Aunt Serena (who has her own agenda) and of course, Grandpa Samuel that the promise made all those years ago must be kept.

Without a doubt the writing here is incredible. Stein lures the reader into the depths of the family issue by building the story bit by bit. The reader along with Trevor has a mystery to unravel. We become his cheerleader while deciphering each clue given until the “truth” prevails and if this weren’t enough a love story is woven into the telling.  I literally abandoned all chores yesterday in order to just sit and read the book till its conclusion. I became so involved I felt as though I were living the story instead of reading it. Bravo Garth Stein!!!!!! You have done it again.

Obviously I highly recommend you read this one. The fact that I read it at Halloween only enhanced the drama but believe me you will thoroughly enjoy this no matter the day. Just don’t plan on doing anything necessary because you won’t be able to leave Riddell house.


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