Thursday, February 18, 2010

Review: House of Reckoning by John Saul

House of Reckoning
By: John Saul
Publisher:  Ballantine Books
304 pages

House of Reckoning centers around the life of young Sarah Crane, a fourteen year-old girl who lost her mother to cancer and loses her father, Ed Crane, to his alcoholic binges while he's caught up in the past and innumerable regrets.  One night he goes too far and gets into a fight with a stranger at the local bar and kills the man.  Meanwhile, Sarah realizes that her father is off drinking and sets out to look for him.  On his way home, he doesn't see her and runs her over.  She ends up in the hospital with a serious leg injury that threatens the possibility of amputation.  Her father is sent off to prison and she meets a nice caseworker named Kate Williams who must place her with a foster family.  She meets the Garveys, a couple with two teenaged children and quickly learns her place in the house as servant and only there because of the check the family receives for taking her in.  One of the few bright spots is getting to visit her father, but only if she satisfies the Garveys wants and needs. 

In school, she becomes friends with Nick Dunnigan, a boy who is somewhat of an outcast himself and who hears voices.  Art classe introduces her to Bettina Phillips, a teacher who is friendly and wants to help Sarah.  She starts drawing ghastly images while under the influence of something unknown while at the same time Nick sees and hears what she's drawing.  One night all the pieces of the puzzle come together as Sarah, Nick and Bettina realize the connection they have with each other.

I enjoyed reading House of Reckoning.  It's been a while since I've read any of John Saul's books.  The last one was The Blackstone Chronicles, which I loved and thouroughly recommend.  House of Reckoning was sad and depressing to read about poor Sarah's life and the things that she had to go through.  One of her punishments by the Garveys was having to sleep outside in the cold with her bad leg.  I can only imagine the pain that would have caused her.  This book was a nice quick read with several plot twists and a juicy mystery at it's core.  Rush out and find yourself a copy or check it out at your local library.

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