Sunday, October 25, 2009

Trick or Treat by Sally Anne Morris


Ever thought you were hearing voices in your head? Welcome to Lucy Diamond’s world... Nothing seems out of the ordinary about Lucy. Well, not until she starts hearing the voices of grumbling ghouls from beyond the grave. Hippie-mom Jasmine arranged for Lucy to develop the Gift and unlike the other presents of vegan cookbooks and tie-dye blouses, this one Lucy can’t return to the store. The Dead aren’t going anywhere until she sorts out their problems. But how can she be expected to deal with the lives of those in Limbo when she can’t even manage her own?

Perfectly timed for Halloween this light hearted romance is a sweet, clever and quirky treat to indulge in. Poor Lucy Diamond - she is merely another drudge in an office full of drudges. She has the glamourous friend JoJo who does "something" in publishing and the obligatory gay male friend, Nigel, who is more than just a little self-obsessed and more than just a little unhappy with how dull his life has become.

That is until JoJo and Nigel rally around Lucy when she starts having episodes of seeing dead people, talking to them and arguing with them - not just on the underground whilst commuting to work but also in her tiny flat above a shop in N17.

Things are pretty scary sounding for Lucy, actually - she's doubting her sanity, her mum, a flaky hippy living in a commune in Wales is no help, gushing that this is her birth gift eventually coming to the fore, her friend Nigel is somehow making everything about him and dammit, the dead just won't stop talking to her. Even attending a show where a world-renowned spiritualist is in attendance turns into a disaster as Lucy realises that she would get no help from the woman who can quite clearly not see anyone apart from her studio audience.

Trick or Treat comes as a pleasant surprise. I adore the cover, of course, and the people at Little Black Dress Books have yet again gone out of their way to publish a very sweet novel about friendship, communication, mis-communication, the supernatural and the downright odd.

Sally Anne Morris's writing is just plain good fun - her touch is light and her overall tone in the novel is a little bit Sir David Attenborough as she relates who Lucy Diamond is, who her friends are and her odd relationship with her "out there" mother.

A pivotal role has to go to Lucy's grandmother who, after Lucy runs to her in the depths of despair, convinced that she's going insane, tells her quite calmly that yes, her gift for seeing and speaking to the dead is a hereditary thing...Lucy baulks, stunned that her grandmother who is the world's most practical and steady person can drop a rock in her lap like that without warning.

Like in Girl from Mars, my first LBD Book, I was amazed by the character development and overall story progress in Trick or Treat. For a tiny book (311 pages) it packs a lot of whallop. If I worked in a bookshop I would file Trick or Treat in two places: romance (of course) but also paranormal / urban fantasy because Lucy may not realise it but she is pretty kick-ass. She's a medium with a can-do attitude and a genuinely sweet and giving heart. Not every single situation she gets herself into pans out well and she deals with that competently and bravely.

Trick or Treat is a definite must read for October and come December, it will make a perfect stocking filler indulgence. It will be the perfect antidote to too much sweet, delivering a kick and a punch and a little bit of bite. The romance is handled very lightly (with one section so funny I scared the life out of my receptionist as I chortled over my lunch whilst reading it) and with a wry tongue in cheek.

Sally Anne Morris writes well and I'm looking forward to more of her novels. Trick or Treat is out now from Little Black Dress books.


Chicklish said...

I love books like this! Thanks for the great review.

Book Chick City said...

This sounds like a really fun read. I also love books like this! Thanks for the review! This is definitely going on my tbr list.