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A Lake Superior ghost story tops list of late-summer reads from Minnesota authors

Aug 06, 2017 05:51PM ● By Editor
By  | [email protected] | Pioneer Press

PUBLISHED: August 6, 2017 at 11:30 am | UPDATED: August 6, 2017 at 2:39 pm

A spine-chilling novel from the Queen of Northern Gothic is her latest release.

“The End of Temperance Dare” by Wendy Webb (Lake Union, $15.95)

Something very dark and very twisted is going on in this house. More dark and twisted than even legions of naughty ghosts trying to scare you by making things go bump in the night and knocking on doors.”

Wendy Webb does haunted houses better than just about anyone. In her fourth novel, which can truly be called a ghost story, she’s turned up the suspense and entered the world of the supernatural.

er is a burned-out newspaper reporter who’s seen too many ugly things. So she eagerly accepts an offer to become director of Cliffside Manor, a former TB sanatorium turned into an artists’ retreat high above Lake Superior. This place where many people died was built by Chester Dare, who was killed in a car crash along with his young daughter, Chamomile. For 23 years the retreat has been run by Chester’s other daughter, Miss Penny, who’s decided to retire. Eleanor’s tenure begins badly when Miss Penny is found dead (this is not a spoiler) with a suicide note. When Eleanor finds a letter from Miss Penny, she begins to wonder if she was chosen as the new director for a specific reason.

When the guest artists arrive, strange things happen. Eleanor sees children playing on the lawn at night and there is a secret playroom adjoining Miss Penny’s bedroom with a portrait of Penny, Chamomile and a third little girl. Who is she? As Eleanor tries to bring calm to the house, she is drawn to two men. One is photographer Richard Banks, the other is the young doctor who lives on the property. But how could a man that young have treated patients a quarter century earlier, as he claims?

There’s a beyond-creepy twist to this story that makes you wonder about the existence of pure evil.

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