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'Welcome To Your New Home, LaRoux Manor' - An Excellent Sinister Novel

 

 

Australian author Liz Butcher earned her degree in psychology, has served as Executive Assistant at the author resource center Horror Tree, and has written short stories that have been published in ten excellent anthologies. Her novels to date include FATE’S FURY, her impressive debut, AFTER DARK, her own collection of short stories, and now LE ROUX MANOR. She grows with each publication, becoming a novelist at the beginning of a fine career. She lives in Brisbane, Australia.

Written for the teen and Young Adult audience, Liz manages to grasp the readers attention with a telling Prologue that offers the nidus for the strange tale, from another time, that follows – ‘Mena sat on the soft on the soft green grass, shaded by the old oak tree against which she rested. The long skirt of her sky-blue, satin party dress – now ruined – billowed out around her. A smile danced across her face as she stroked the cat in her lap…Raising her hand, she pressed her thumb to her finger, marveling at the stickiness of the blood…’ and slowly her father comes in to the picture and Mena’s end is imminent.

The presence of Mena’s death, as suggested above, is made clear as the strange and very dark story proceeds. ‘Camille LeRoux stared out the window of their hired car and stifled a yawn. After the past twenty-four hours of traveling, they were almost there – their new home. her father drove them down the main street of Woodville, and Camille scanned the different shop names, catching glimpses of signs and storefront windows...She could seen enough to determine there wasn’t a single franchise on the whole street – no Zarraffas Coffee, no Dymocks Books, none of her favourite clothing stores.’ Entry into this new locale is accompanied by a series of very strange discoveries and events.

Liz paces this novel very well indeed, and the plot is summarized as follows – ‘Camille’s father just inherited the family manor from his estranged uncle, forcing her to leave her friends and city life just before her senior year of high school for the small town of Woodville, England. After seeing a strange old woman lurking on the estate grounds, she embarks on a mission to uncover the history of her new home. What she finds is wilder than she could have imagined—the murder of her ancestor, Caleb LeRoux, on the same day his six-year-old daughter vanished without a trace. And an unforeseen connection to Camille herself, as the only female LeRoux born to the family in over two hundred years. With the help of her new school friends, Camille delves into the secrets of the manor, uncovering an all-encompassing truth that will change the entire course of her life—past, present, and future.’

As with her other stories Liz impresses as an obviously gifted artist who knows how to blend human drama with horror. Very highly recommended.


~Grady Harp