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Review: Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin

Monday, December 17, 2012
Picture the Dead is a dark read for the supernatural elements and intrigue surrounding the Pritchett family following the deaths of two cousins in the Civil War.

3.5 Stars: A Good Read
Illustrator: Lisa Brown
Paperback: 263 Pages
Publication: February 1, 2012 by Sourcebooks Fire

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Jennie feels the tingling presence of something unnatural in the house now that Will is dead.

Her heart aches without him, and she still doesn't know how he really died. It seems that everywhere she turns, someone is hiding yet another clue. As Jennie seeks the truth, she finds herself drawn ever deeper into a series of tricks and lies, secrets and betrayals, and begins to wonder if she had every really known Will at all.

Jennie is told that Will died in battle, but certain clues lead her to believe that something else happened. Something that Quinn and everyone else involved wants to cover up. With the belief that Will is haunting her, Jennie makes full use of her brother's spy tactics to figure out just what happened and if the true Will is the same Will that she knew and loved. In the spiritual photographer Geist, she finds a friend and fellow believer in ghosts. In Quinn, she finds comfort and a potential love she had never before considered. However, there is more to the true story and circumstances to Will's death than she could have imagined, and learning the truth could undermine the security that she's scrambling to establish in a hostile home.

I love the subtle taste with which the supernatural elements are inserted into the story. There are signs and suggestions that a restless spirit haunts Jennie and the Prichett family; at the same time, it is easy to believe that Jennie might be being played and the true identity of the spirit is human. Whatever we choose to believe is up to us, the reader, but Jennie strongly believes that Will has come back to help her uncover the truth behind his death. Best of all, the story will keep you guessing and second guessing yourself on what really happened. Even after thinking through all the possibilities, I was beginning to fall for the lies when the truth came out, which was not at all what I was expecting after all that happens. It seems that I am not cut out for spy work at all!

Picture the Dead isn't a long book, and the pages are filled with pictures from Jennie's scrapbook, always foreshadowing what is to come. The simplicity of the language lends power to the words wrought with emotion and is at a level where younger readers may also enjoy this beautiful, poignant story. The ease with which this story can be read and the gorgeous illustrations make this book a great read for readers of all ages.

A copy was provided by Sourcebooks for review.

4 comments on "Review: Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin"
  1. Well, I love the idea of the book.. I am wondering if Will was Jennie's lover of brother or friend? Anyways, I like the idea and I think there is definitely some potential there.
    I added this to my TBR
    GREAT review, Kris!
    Your reader,

    1. Thanks, Soma! Will is Jennie's cousin and fiancé. I think his father is her mom's half-brother or something, so they're not that closely related. But enough that it'd be considered weird in our day and age.

  2. I liked this story a lot too especially with the addition of pictures-great use of them to add to the tale!

  3. I love it when there are pictures, especially if they add to the story. I've wanted to read this for a long time. I'll have to get my hands on it.


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