Friday, February 14, 2014

A Skeleton In the Family

Author:  Leigh Perry
Genre:  Mystery

Paperback; Ebook; Audible
ISBN: 9780425255841
Berkley Publishing
304 Pages
$7.99; $7.99 Amazon
September 3, 2013
Five Stars

Georgia Thackery and her daughter, Madison, move back home when she gets a job at McQuaid college as an adjunct professor.  Her parents are both full professors there, and have decided to go on a sabbatical for several months, leaving Georgia and Madison the full use of their home while they are away.  Unfortunately, they have a permanent roommate, Sid.  Sid is a skeleton.  A real skeleton.  He walks, talks, and has lived in the attic of the Thackery home since Georgia and her sister, Deborah, were children. 
 One day he convinces Georgia to let him leave the house with her and Madison to go to an Anime convention dressed as one of the characters.  It is there that he sees a woman from his past, and soon decides that he wants to find out how he died-and when-and asks Georgia's help.  But pretty soon things begin to happen that convince Georgia that Sid didn't die in the usual way-he was murdered-and the murderer may be looking for Sid just the same as Sid is looking to find out who killed him.
I picked up this book because of its title, which was an unusual premise: you read about ghosts and such, but how often do you read about skeletons?  Exactly.  So the book had me hooked right from the title.  Which is a good thing in my view.  I was hoping that everything else about it would be just as good, and I am glad to say that I was not disappointed.
Sid is a skeleton who lives in Georgia Thackery's parents' home.  He has lived there some thirty odd years, ever since he saved the life of Georgia when she was only six.  He has become Georgia's best friend, and she can't imagine being without him.  Her sister Deborah, however, has ceased talking to him altogether, convincing herself that he doesn't exist (even though she can see and hear him).  And Sid, for his part, refuses to allow Georgia to tell her own daughter Madison of his existence, so Georgia can only spend time with him when Madison is either out of the house or asleep, which turns out to be tricky.
Finding out that Madison is very into anime, Sid convinces Georgia - reluctantly - to allow him to come along to the convention dressed as one of the anime characters; and it is while there that he sees a woman who triggers memories of when he was alive.  Since Georgia has just met a reporter who is working part-time at the college, she asks to see the photos he took at the convention, and manages to track the woman down.
Unfortunately, I can't reveal any more of the book, because to do so would be nothing more than spoilers for what happens after this.  Believe me, though, when I tell you that every event after this initial discovery ties into what happened to Sid.  It begins with the woman - and I can tell you that she is a professor herself - and spirals into a series of events that pull Sid and Georgia deeper into the mystery surrounding his death.  It is a well-woven tale that surprised even me, given the subject.  Sid is humorous, and his interactions with Georgia are such that it is entirely believable that these two could have been friends for years.
The only thing that bothered me was the fact that I felt Georgia showed little emotion for anyone outside of Sid or Madison.  There was a love interest of sorts, but I never felt that there was any real connection between the two of them, although that may have been deliberate on the author's part.  At any rate, I think we'll be seeing more of Ms. Perry, and I am grateful for that.

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