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Dead Roads by Robin Riopelle
They are, perhaps, not your typical family- Lutie, her brothers Baz and Sol, their ghost-hiding mother and ghost-catching traiteur father. But when Lutie decides she wants to catch herself a ghost, just like her mother, and enlists her brother Baz who can sing so that both the living and the dead pay attention to help her, she shatters the casual strangeness of their lives.
Taken away from home by her mother, it takes many years and the death of their father for Lutie to run into her brothers again. An angry ghost stalks the rail yards of the west, drawing the attention of Sol who has taken up at least part of his father’s ghost-catching and settling trade. As stubborn as he is to try and fight it out alone, it will take all three siblings, who have grown into three independent and alienated adults, working together to settle this ghost and the demon riding its back.
Dead Roads is rich is bayou lore- it swelters with the south even when the story is staggering its way through cold Colorado nights. It is much more than a ghost story, and far richer than the usual far horror fantasy/fiction has to offer. Even as it is doing its best to make you jump at every little creek of your house in the night it rings with a respect for the dead- we don’t have casual ghost hunters here. Sol is a reluctant doctor to the dead, a wonderful parallel to his day job as an EMT. The family trade of traiteur is a duty, not a hobby, and the author communicates that well to the reader.
It took a little to get moving, and there was some disjointed movement from POV to POV as the book started, but that did not take from my interest in the story or my desire to see what was going to happen next. I think my biggest concern was the sheer amount of French worked into the dialog- not just a word here and there but oft times full sentences. It did add to the atmosphere, but at the cost of comprehension. As a reader it pulled me from the story as I struggled to work out what was being said. Again, not enough to deter me from reading, but enough for me to notice and become frustrated now and again.
Overall, a fantastic, atmospheric read. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and watching them move through a wonderfully unique and delightfully creepy plot. Recommended.