Synopses & Reviews
An extraordinary southern saga begun by Michael McDowell and finished after his death by Tabitha King.
Known for his chilling Blackwater series, author Michael McDowell left behind the unfinished manuscript for Candles Burning, on his death in 1999. In the spirit of the ghost stories that Michael loved, Tabitha King has taken up where he left off, weaving a Southern gothic fabric of murder, guilt, innocence, corruption, and survival, in the voices of the living and the dead.
Calliope "Calley" Dakin is Daddy's little girl, much to the exasperation of her mother, Roberta Ann, who was born into the very old and prestigious Carroll family. Even though she married Joe Cane Dakin and even though he owns a prosperous chain of car dealerships, Roberta Ann never lets him forget his humble origins. But Calley takes the brunt of her mother's contempt, because she is a low-born Dakin through and through. She also hears things that maybe a little girl shouldn't hear and knows things a little girl should never know...
Calley is just seven when her beloved father is tortured, murdered, and dismembered by two women with no discernible motivation. Calley and her mother find themselves caught up in inexplicable events that exile them to Pensacola Beach, where in a house that's a dead ringer for Calley's late great-grandmother's house another woman awaits their presence. A woman who knows what Calley is and seeks to control her. For Calley is a force, and someone wants to use her. Someone who made the mistake of eliminating Calley's daddy, without understanding that this particular little girl's love for her daddy will not be destroyed by mere death. Nor will her daddy's love for her.
Candles Burning draws you in to a tale as haunting and vivid as a summer nightmare and into the extraordinary imaginations of two most provocative authors.
"A mix of magic realism and Southern gothic, this stunning collaboration between King (Survivor) and McDowell (The Elementals), who died in 1999, moves at a hypnotic pace, like an Alabama water moccasin slipping through black water. Set in the late 1950s, the narrative paints a bitingly bittersweet portrait of Calliope 'Calley' Carroll Dakin, a seven-year-old child caught in a web of deceit, secrets and the supernatural. Calley, a little girl with big ears, can communicate with departed spirits. When one character asks Calley if she can hear the dead, she replies, 'Yes, ma'am... but it ain't worth hearing.' Or is it? After Calley's self-made father, Joe Cane Dakin, who owns a chain of car dealerships, is murdered in New Orleans in a botched kidnapping, the spirit voices come in handy because now Calley's in danger, too. Later, Roberta Ann, Calley's Southern-belle from-hell mama who never let her husband forget his humble origins, takes the girl to a mysterious Pensacola B&B. There Calley's talents gradually enable her to find sweet justice for her daddy and to appreciate the pure delight of nature's revenge. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"McDowell...hadn't finished this lightly supernatural confection when he died in 1999. King completes it beautifully as to tone, aura, and flavor, and it's funny and intriguing, magnetically readable." Booklist
"The characterization is sharp, and more importantly, when you finish the book you truly will miss Calley so much so that you may well read this finely crafted work again and again." BookReporter.com
"This is Truman Capote/Carson McCullers country with a Pandora guided by ghostly voices...grand and deeply satisfying." Peter Straub, bestselling author of Ghost Story and In the Night Room
Two of literature's most provocative authors draw readers into the summer's most chilling tale. King picks up the late McDowell's unfinished manuscript, weaving a Southern gothic fabric of murder, guilt, innocence, corruption, and survival told in the voices of the living and the dead.
King picks up the late McDowell's unfinished manuscript, weaving a Southern gothic fabric of murder, guilt, innocence, corruption, and survival told in the voices of the living and the dead.
After her father's horrific murder, Calley Dakin and her mother find themselves exiled to Pensacola Beach, where a woman awaits their presence. A woman who understands that Calley is no normal little girl, but can't begin to imagine just how strong her bond is with her father-even after death.
About the Author
Tabitha King is the acclaimed author of Small World
, The Book of Reuben
, and many other titles. The wife of novelist Stephen King, she lives in Maine.
Michael McDowell died in 1999. He was the author of a number of popular horror novels, including the six volumes of the Blackwater series.