I lifted this from Amazon.com after I read the book. Jess is a first class chica and a hell of an author. If these reviews prove to be cool, I’ll do more…
One of the neato things about being an indie author is that you get to check out other indie authors that sometimes wind up in the same books or magazines as you.
Jessica, at this point, isn’t one of those writers. But, she is a writer for the mighty Post Mortem Press, a damned fine publisher that I’ve gotten to write for twice thus far, and Eric (PMP’s Head Honcho) had been telling me about Jessica McHugh’s “Rabbits in the Garden” since I first started corresponding with him. Finally, after nearly a year, I got to read it and damned if he wasn’t right.
“Rabbits” begins innocently enough when we meet Avery Norton a 12 year old girl and her best friend/soul mate Paul. Thick as thieves and cute as buttons, we see the origins and genuine love between these two characters. That is, of course, until McHugh yanks the carpet out from under them both.
Set in an earlier generation, McHugh (don’t you hate when the reviewer starts calling the author by their last names?) sets up a series of heart breaking scenarios, bitter sweet friendships and a bad guy you genuinely come to love because you just hate her so damned much. If there is a more evil mom than Faye, I’ll buy you a mega chili dog from your favorite hot dog joint. (I’m low rent.)
The story is well paced and frankly, brutal in sections. You root for the heroine Avery through the many twists she endures and when the payoff comes…well, you’ll need to read it. It is, I will say, a great twist that I didn’t even see coming.
Where Jessica really pulls off unsettling passages are the dream sequences, which are some of the hardest things to put to page I have found, and yet she nails it every time. I found myself looking forward to the dream sequences just because they were so vivid and at times, genuinely unsettling.
By the time you get to the climax of this story, you’re ready for blood. And holy crap, you get it. The last act of the book flat out rocks and delivers the goods.
McHugh is the author of ten independently published novels (not a vanity press one in the lot apparently) that were all published in the last four years. (Suck it, Steve King!)
So, go get yourself some “Rabbits.” You won’t be disappointed.
You can visit Jessica’s web site at www.jessicamchughbooks.com