Anna (_ocelott_) wrote in book_rec,

Street of Death by Mary Ann Mitchell

Publisher: Medallion, 2007
Genre: Horror
Sub-genre: Historical

The horror genre seems to be vastly dominated by paranormal stories involving ghosts, vampires, or sometimes unexplained bumps in the night as well as the classic mystery/thriller. Sometimes both in one book. Street of Death was a nice change of pace, a beautifully gothic tale of a young woman with a knack for unearthing peoples' horrible secrets. If Jane Eyre had been set in the terror of the Spanish Inquisition instead of rural Victorian England, it might have turned out a lot like this.

I have to say, whoever wrote the teaser on the back of the book gets a big FAIL. In eleven sentences, they manage to simultaneously make wrong/misleading statements and give away major plot points close to the end of the book. So kudos to the person who had the creative genius to screw such a brief synopsis up in two completely different ways. If anyone finds themself at all interested in reading this book, do yourself a favour and ignore the back cover, at least until you've finished. If you want a general gist of the plot, you can read mine!

Street of Death is not for the faint of heart. I don't think I've used the words "dark" and "gothic" enough to fully describe how well they fit. All the nasty pieces are in here, secrets (mostly) from the past: incest, murder, torture, rape... something for everyone! There's nothing explicit here, but they're all significant plot-wise.

And you know what? I absolutely could not put it down. I devoured the thing, eager to find out how all these secrets fit in together. The tone and beautiful phrasing drew me in, and the slow reveal of what exactly had happened (and was still happening, in some cases) in the family had me finally turning the last page at 4am. Morning was painful, but I didn't care, because this book must have been printed on pages made of crack, it was so addictive.
Tags: fiction
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