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Monday, October 25, 2010

Draw the Dark - Ilsa Bick (Young Adult)

Released October 2010

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

When he was a young boy, Christian Cage's father disappeared. His mother simply spent hours staring at a book claiming he'd "gone into the sideways place." Two years later, she vanished too. Christian's grown up with his Uncle Hank and Aunt Jean. Years later, he's painting things that come true and it's frightening him.

After he's accused of spray painting swastikas on an old barn, Christian is assigned community service, including repainting the barn and volunteering at an elderly care facility. Soon Christian finds himself slipping into the past, into the body and mind of a young boy witnessing the use of POWs, shipped to Wisconsin from Germany, to perform menial labor for a wealthy business owner. That young boy witnesses a crime and it's now up to Christian to solve the mystery and reveal the truth decades later.

Draw the Dark is creepy, mesmerizing and striking. It took me a while to get a feel for the plot and where things were headed. Once the characters were clear and relationships were drawn, I was hooked.

The story delves a bit into history regarding WWII and the transport of Jewish POWs to be forced to work in the U.S. under the supervision of the Germans they greatly feared. That aspect of the Holocaust was new to me and how horrible that shipment to the U.S. was not the salvation many would have hoped for.

There's a touch of paranormal to this story. In fact, the ending is going to leave many people on the edge of their seat. I won't delve into much of the ending, but suffice it to say there had better be a sequel in the works!

There's also a minor plot regarding bullying. Christian's experiences with bullies helps readers sympathize with his character.

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