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9780451466976_p0_v2_s300x  “Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one…”

Being a resident of Massachsetts, this children’s rhyme always gave me a sense of disquiet, and that was before I knew of the “true” story behind the Borden murders. Despite being found not guilty, the prevailing supposition has always been that Lizzie Borden did indeed use an axe to kill her father and step-mother that fateful day. Cherie Priest presents another more otherworldly theory. Through use of journal entries written by multiple participants and witnesses including Lizzie and her sister Emma, an insidious plot which somehow originates from the very lifeblood of Fall River, the sea, slowly unfolds and there are only two things which are clear; it starts with Abigail and Andrew Borden, and no man, woman or child who live in this small town are safe. Thankfully this is the first book in what will be a trilogy or series because I just finished this book and I’m still not sure what happened. Without giving away too many spoilers there are these Lovecraftian style creatures that have something to do with the ocean. What I was left puzzling over even at the end was whether they originated there, or if they’re actually human victims which have been transformed, or as I suspect, a combination of both. Some reviewers have criticized the multiple POVs, saying they were distracting. I actually appreciated the different views of what was happening. There’s also quite a lot of true historical events which are blended in quite skillfully by Cherie Priest. I find that much like the old children’s rhyme, Maplecroft has left me disquieted. Is that the sign of a great book? If you choose to try this, I’ll have to let you decide. I will say that I’m definitely intrigued enough that I’ll be picking up the next book in The Bordan Dispatches when it comes out.

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