Thanks to NetGalley and Pegasus Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: At the heart of this psychological suspense novel is the haunting depiction of a family’s fall and the extraordinary gifted dog, Caity, who knows the truth. As the drama unfolds Caity evolves fro protector to savior, from scapegoat to prop, and eventually, from avenger to survivor. She is an unselfish soul in a selfish world–and she is written with depth and grace by authors Ketchum and McKee, who display a profound understanding of a dog’s complex emotions. With her telling instincts and her capacity for joy and transformative love, Caity joins the pantheon of great dogs in contemporary literature.
Eleven-year-old actress Delia Cross is beautiful, talented and charismatic. A true star in the making. Her days are a blur of hard work on set, auditions and tutors. Her family–driven, pill-popping Pat, wastrel dad Bart, and introverted twin brother Robbie–depends on her for their upscale lifestyle. Delia in turn depends on Caity, her beloved ginger Queensland Heeler–and her loyal friend–for the calming private space they share. Delia is on the verge of a professional breakthrough. But just as the contracts are about to be signed, there is a freak accident that puts Delia in the danger zone with only Caity to protect her.
I make it a point to try to stay away from books featuring animals as primary characters, because they seldom end well, which results in me crying my eyes out, which in turn leads to migraines, and in the end it’s just not worth it for me. There was something about this that called to me. Maybe it was the beautiful cover. Or perhaps it was Stephen King’s blessing of it. Whatever it was I read it in two hours, and while yes, it made me cry and I got a migraine, this was so beautifully told it was completely worth it. Those of you who are familiar with Ketchum’s writing, know he’s a great writer of horror, but while The Secret Life of Souls contains some truly dark character and scenes, it’s completely different from his previous books. The story starts positively enough, with young Delia pretty much having the world at her feet, but things go downhill very quickly once her accident happens and her parents really show their true colors. A word of warning for animal lovers: there are some difficult scenes involving Caity and while I’m not going to give out any spoilers, things work out in the end. While all the characters are well written, the star is Caity. She even gets her own chapters where the reader is treated to her perspective towards what’s happening. Since I’m a dog person, I really appreciated these moments. I have to be honest and say that some of the events that take place in the second half of the book, particularly in regards to Delia’s parents, are a little over-the-top, but once again, this book is all about the beautiful, wonderful Caity, so I’m not even marking this down in terms of my rating. The Secret Life Of Souls is a story that will make you smile, and rage, and cry. It’s also an incredibly inspirational story about the true power of love. If you’re a dog lover, this is a book you really shouldn’t miss. And if you’re not, I recommend it anyway and guarantee you’ll be one by the time you finish the epilogue!