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The Shadow House    by Anna Downes order for
Shadow House
by Anna Downes
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2022 (2022)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
*   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Anna Downes' The Shadow House opens with a rather spooky introduction - from a victim or a perpetrator of violence? It's not clear.

Then single mother Alex arrives at her split level at the far end of the rural Pine Ridge ecovillage (two hours from Sydney, Australia) with her two children, fourteen-year-old aggressively antisocial Ollie and infant Kara. Alex is fleeing from something, but what?

Ollie isn't happy with this move to 'a hippie commune'. Alex is shocked to find a package on her doorstep with a dead bird inside. Up the hill is an old abandoned farmhouse with a sad history, an odd, reclusive son who went missing.

Back in time we meet Renee Kellerman in the farmhouse, waiting for the school bus to bring her son Gabriel home. Later that evening, a parcel is left at the front door, her beheaded cat Ivory inside. the story continues moving back and forth between past and present.

Horror continues to mix with mystery as the plot thickens. An odd diagram is left in Alex's mailbox, and a child warns her of a witch in the woods. Both her children are challenging in their own ways. We see past events echoed in the present, leading to a surprising conclusion.

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