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A Good and Happy Childby Justin Evans
Part thriller and part horror novel, this is among the best of its genre: shelves populated with the likes of Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist, and books by Joe Hill. A Good and Happy Child is a masterpiece of suspense and subtlety, full of psychological depth and theological examination.
Synopses & Reviews
Thirty-year-old George Davies can't bring himself to hold his newborn son. After months of accepting his lame excuses and strange behavior, his wife has had enough. She demands that he see a therapist, and George, desperate to save his unraveling marriage and redeem himself as a father and husband, reluctantly agrees.
As he delves into his childhood memories, he begins to recall things he hasn't thought of in twenty years. Events, people, and strange situations come rushing back. The odd, rambling letters his father sent home before he died. The jovial mother who started dating too soon after his father's death. A boy who appeared one night when George was lonely, then told him secrets he didn't want to know. How no one believed this new friend was real and that he was responsible for the bad things that were happening.
Terrified by all that he has forgotten, George struggles to remember what really happened in the months following his father's death. Were his ominous visions and erratic behavior the product of a grief-stricken child's overactive imagination (a perfectly natural reaction to the trauma of loss, as his mother insisted)? Or were his father's colleagues, who blamed a darker, more malevolent force, right to look to the supernatural as a means to end George's suffering? Twenty years later, George still does not know. But when a mysterious murder is revealed, remembering the past becomes the only way George can protect himself — and his young family.
A psychological thriller in the tradition of Donna Tartt's The Secret History — with shades of The Exorcist — the smart and suspenseful A Good and Happy Child leaves you questioning the things you remember and frightened of the things you've forgotten.
"Think Rosemary's Baby-plus...told in the kind of prose that mesmerizes." Harford Courant
"A first novel about which there is a justified buzz, its entertaining malevolence reminiscent of another fat first book, Donna Tartt's The Secret History." Houston Chronicle
"A Good and Happy Child is a rare achievement — a literary horror story that's deeply intelligent, beautifully written, and seriously chilling." Entertainment Weekly
"Don't be surprised if you find yourself sleeping with the lights on." Parade
"A scary, grown-up ghost story that combines Southern gothic with more than a twist of The Exorcist." Portland Tribune
"Beautifully written and perfectly structured. The result is a literary thriller of the first order." Washington Post
"A Good and Happy Child unsettles the imagination with its twisting path into a private hell. Evans's story tingles with psychological suspense as it explores the subterranean world where faith meets fear, reminding us how hard it is to rid ourselves of our demons." Keith Donohue, author of The Stolen Child
A Washington Post Best Book of 2007
“Beautifully written and perfectly structured. . . . This novel is much more than The Omen for the latte generation, and Evans cleverly subverts expectations at every turn.” -Washington Post
In the smart and suspenseful A Good and Happy Child, a psychological thriller in the tradition of Donna Tartts The Secret History with shades of The Exorcist, a young man reexamines his childhood memories of strange visions and erratic behavior to answer disturbing questions that continue to haunt him and his new family.
“[A] satisfying, suspenseful first novel. . . . Young Georges intriguing story unbalances the reader right up to the books deliciously chilling end.”
“A scary, grown-up ghost story that combines Southern gothic with more than a twist of The Exorcist. . . . Combine[s] mind-bending storytelling with excellent prose.”
“Think Rosemarys Baby—plus . . . told in the kind of prose that mesmerizes, sweeping the reader along so fast that theres no time to ask questions.”
“[A] dazzling debut . . . part psychological thriller, part horror story.”
“Relat[es] his otherworldly suspense story with the cool, calm eye of a skeptic.”
—Entertainment Weekly (A—)
About the Author
Justin Evans is a strategy and business development executive in New York City, where he lives with his wife and their two children. This is his first novel.
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