Title: To Inherit a Murderer (Book 1, The Ward)
Author: E. J. Reuk
Publication date: June 2009
Reviewer: Clayton Bye
E. J. Ruek writes “contemporary mainstream novels with just a nod of nerve-tingling what-if possibility.”
“In life,” the author says “things are not always as they seem — not on the surface and not underneath. I like that. I like to write about that. Your auntie might not be that nice lady you always thought she was. In fact, she might be nicer. If fact, she might have hidden knowledge that you never dreamed someone like her could harbor, much less use. She has secrets, and those secrets drive the neighbors crazy, because they just “know” that something isn’t quite as “normal” as it should be. …And it isn’t.”
“You just never know. You can never assume. Because, when you do, things happen.”
Both parents dead, William is to be raised by his mother’s friend Deborah Rheinhart–even though she suspects the twelve-year-old is a murderer.
Injured by the rage-driven boy on his first day at her home, Deborah’s reclusive and very private life is turned upside down. Her hired “chaperones” are forced to turn her beautiful ranch into a prison. Even Deborah’s activities become restricted.
A portrait of high-end ranch life and the “prestigious world” of Grand Prix show jumping, The Ward by E. J. Ruek is also the story of a woman dedicated to understanding and teaching her inherited child, despite how evil he seems to be. Determined to make William earn companionship and privileges by actions, Deborah puts herself directly in the path of a force so destructive she may very well be the next victim on a growing list of strange deaths and injuries.
To Inherit a Murderer (Book 1, The Ward) is my first time reading the fiction of E. J. Reuk. I am, however, familiar with the author’s blogging, book reviews and editorials, and I’ve come to expect quality in all. Reuk’s fiction does not disappoint.
Reuk is up there with the best. Crisp, balanced prose. A unique, well-told story. And a protagonist and antagonist the reader won’t be able to get enough of. I’m thrilled The Ward is just the first book in a series.
Will appeal to: thriller buffs, horror fans, those who lean toward the paranormal.
What I didn’t like: the story bogged down a bit during a rather lengthy visit to the world of horse jumping.
Final comment? The Ward is the reason I keep sifting through the galaxy of small and independent publishers; the novel is unique, and it’s very good.
Copyright © Clayton Clifford Bye 2009
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