Normally, I fall in love with a writer's books and then work on meeting that writer, at a signing or a convention or maybe just through an exchange of letters. This time around, though, I met the writer and then fell in love with her work.
Back in June, I wrote a little column about venturing into self-publishing with e-books, and I mentioned this writer by name: Terri Reid. Well, I finally had a chance to try one of her books and to say that I devoured them would be inaccurate only because the word "devour" doesn't really cover how quickly I jetted through her entire series. So far. I don't normally do this, but I'm going to use this space for my review of book 7 in her Mary O'Reilly series. And if you do what the title of this post says and read her work, I dare you to disagree with me! (This review is also online at Amazon, as is a much clearer picture of the cover artwork.)
Secret Hollows, Terri Reid
Reviewed by Ophelia Julien
Secret Hollows, Aching Hearts
There was no accident or whimsy on my part when I chose to review book seven in Terri Reid’s Mary O’Reilly series instead of any of the earlier ones. I read the entire series in a sort of mad marathon over the course of two and a half days, and I see that I am not the only one who felt the need to comment on this one. Except for the first book, Loose Ends, Secret Hollows has engendered the most reviews. There are good reasons for this.
Ms. Reid is a skillful story teller and the Mary O’Reilly series shows that to the best effect with plot threads that begin in one book, get picked up in another, and are resolved in yet one more, all while new threads are introduced at the same time to keep readers coming back for the next installment . In that regard, Ms. Reid is, I must say, a very talented but evil little minx. There is no leaving this series once hooked. The characters become good friends and the world of Freeport, Illinois becomes a great place to hang out and solve murder mysteries.
Because these are paranormal mysteries, there are always ghosts involved. I have long held the belief that everyone has a ghost story, and it is this premise that makes the Mary O’Reilly books work. As opposed to some small-town murder series where one begins to wonder if half of the town is seriously engaged in bumping off the other half, one citizen at a time, the murders presented here are connected to cold cases as well as to murders that have been incorrectly solved. It is great fun to follow Mary and her companions, both living and dead, as they sort through clues, deal with danger, and still have time and energy to work on affairs of the heart.
Secret Hollows, however, is the heart-breaker of the bunch. Any serial killer who targets children deserves any and every hell the victims’ parents can dream up and dish out. The murders in this story are doubly moving because the reader is given the opportunity to know these young and innocent victims as real children whose lives were taken by a monster. And just to add to the poignancy, a story arc that began a few books back reaches its inevitable happy-but-so sad resolution here. I knew it was coming; I was just hoping it wouldn’t.
Don’t wait. Treat yourself to these books yesterday. I only reviewed number seven, but do not skip the first six because 1) you need the background to appreciate the depth of this particular story, and 2) the whole series is one helluva a ride.
Ms. Reid just got herself a new fan-girl.