A Guide for Murdered Children
We all say there is no justice in this world. But what if there really was? What if the souls of murdered children were able to return briefly to this world, inhabit adult bodies and wreak ultimate revenge on the monsters who had killed them, stolen their lives?Such is the unfathomable mystery confronting ex-NYPD detective Willow Wylde, fresh out of rehab and finally able to find a job running a Cold Case squad in suburban Detroit. When the two rookie cops assigned to him take an obsessive interest in a decades old disappearance of a brother and sister, Willow begins to suspect something out of the ordinary is afoot. And when he uncovers a series of church basement AA-type meetings made up of the slain innocents, a new way of looking at life, death, murder and missed opportunities is revealed to him.Mystical, harrowing and ultimately tremendously moving, A Guide for Murdered Children is a genre-busting, mind-bending twist on the fine line between the ordinary and the extraordinary.

A Guide for Murdered Children Details

TitleA Guide for Murdered Children
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 20th, 2018
PublisherBlue Rider Press
ISBN-139780399574528
Rating
GenreFiction, Fantasy, Mystery

A Guide for Murdered Children Review

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    January 1, 1970
    I would like to thank Netgalley for a copy of this book. Unfortunately, it wasn't for me. There was so much going on that I didn't understand at times and other times I did. Even though it wasn't for me, I hope others will like it.
  • AnisaAnne
    January 1, 1970
    You can also read my reviews on WP: anisabookreviews.wordpress.com/2017/0...A solid 3.5 stars rounded to 4 Why? Rounded-up for an intriguing and incredibly creative plot. 1.5 Stars taken off for the structure/writing style of the narrative. Imagine the world where the spirits of slain Children can return to exact revenge and to give closure to their cherished ones and finally "restore the balance." Justice in a world without any. Recovering alcoholic and ex-NYPD detective, Willow Wylde, aka "Dub You can also read my reviews on WP: anisabookreviews.wordpress.com/2017/0...A solid 3.5 stars rounded to 4 Why? Rounded-up for an intriguing and incredibly creative plot. 1.5 Stars taken off for the structure/writing style of the narrative. Imagine the world where the spirits of slain Children can return to exact revenge and to give closure to their cherished ones and finally "restore the balance." Justice in a world without any. Recovering alcoholic and ex-NYPD detective, Willow Wylde, aka "Dubya." is fresh out of rehab and about to take on the world without intoxicants. As a divorcee, Willow has one last attempt to be a father to his daughter and a grandfather to little Larkin. But Detective Willow is still unchanged, a collision of self and destructiveness as he tries to navigate his sobriety. Strange deaths are occurring in Saggerty Falls, and Detective Willow uses his experience attempting to piece together the crimes. What he learns is deadly, but what he becomes is reinvented.The premise of the novel is that murdered children can inhabit a moribund adult body and exact revenge on the person that wronged them. There is a Guide Book and a structure of this society -The Porter (Annie, the guide), sentries (assistants to the Porter), roommates (child spirit), and landlords (the moribund adult body). And there is the train that arrives at the station with their Subalterns (train sentries). The children take on the ride to their final mission. But something is amiss.The novel is recounted in the third person and begins with a writing style is difficult to appreciate and appears to read as a stream of consciousness. I grappled with the presentation of the first few chapters, trying to grasp onto words that seemed to be placed together with a forced atmosphere of chaos. Even though the pace is slow, the narrative jogs all over the place. There are alternating stories, multiple points of view, and timelines. Finally, there is an abundance of characters within characters and their full set of details which created confusion. I was forced to read and re-read. And sometimes I moved on and it made sense later. The chapter headings and sub-headings were helpful but not always. But where the narrative fails in structure, it makes up in character development and imagination. I enjoyed Detective Willow, a character you can both love and despise at the same time. A loathsome man is attempting to reassert his place in his neglected family. His love is palpable as he rediscovers relationships. As a retired old cop, he takes a chance at getting his old job back but knows he is washed up. Middle age makes him feel invisible. But he has a gift of voices he has been suppressing. Other noteworthy characters in the novel are a murderous duo. Laverne and Grundy's creepy rituals may keep me up at night. Although the descriptions of their killing are not gruesome, it is hair-raising and sinister. Finally, The structure of the spirit world was impressive world building. There was a feeling of strangeness, and it was believable. The transparent hue of the Blue Earth, the train arriving at the station in dreams, the whispers of instruction, the Tom Collins and a cookie on a tray, the integration of body and spirit. The spooky and surreal ambiance was on point.Overall, there is a mystery, mysticism, and some gruesome brutality. A great concept to juxtapose the paranormal/science fiction genre with horror. It fell short in the structure, but the story still unfolds, and those bits are brilliant. Not for the faint heart and for those who prefer a more streamlined read.Thank you, NetGalley, PENGUIN GROUP Blue Rider Press & Plume for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    Somewhere, A Unicorn Is Crying(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for violence, including the rape, torture, and murder of children.)For the children, when your time is done, it is VERY important to THANK YOUR LANDLORD—they’ve been such CARING roommates!!! Remember, without THEM, you would never have been able to have your moment of balance. For the landlords, when YOUR time is done, THANK your BODY!!! (For the wonderful times it provi Somewhere, A Unicorn Is Crying(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for violence, including the rape, torture, and murder of children.)For the children, when your time is done, it is VERY important to THANK YOUR LANDLORD—they’ve been such CARING roommates!!! Remember, without THEM, you would never have been able to have your moment of balance. For the landlords, when YOUR time is done, THANK your BODY!!! (For the wonderful times it provided.) NEVER FORGET that it gave you so much more time than your child-tenants had! And THANK the FRIENDS and FAMILY that you LOVED . . . and thank this beautiful BLUE EARTH. — from “The End” (the Guidebook)-- 2.5 stars --Something strange and awesome is happening in the small town of Saggerty Falls, Michigan - and in towns both large and small all over the world (presumably). The spirits of murdered children ("tenants") are returning to this beautiful blue earth, temporarily inhabiting the bodies of recently deceased adults ("landlords") in order to exact revenge (the "moment of balance") on their killers. They are guided through this adventure by a psychic mentor ("porter") - in this case, one Annie Ballendine, a former teacher who was institutionalized after she began to hear voices. Annie was rescued and trained by Jasper, the porter before her; and, as her cancer returns, Annie knows that the time is nearing for her pass the baton to her successor. But how will she find this person, while also dealing with the "haywire" events that presage a Porter's passing?Depending on how compassionately the narrative is crafted, rape revenge stories are some of my favorites (quite possibly because rape carries so few consequences for the perpetrators here in the real world. Fiction is often much more satisfying.) Mindy McGinnis's The Female of the Species has become the gold standard for me; Alex Craft is the ultimate antihero, and the book does an exemplary job deconstructing rape culture. I envisioned the titular murdered children as miniature Dexter Morgans-in-training, crammed into the meatsuits of unsuspecting (but ultimately game) adult humans. Like Alex, but with even more personal vendettas. Maybe even with a splash of Chucky from Child's Play in there somewhere. In other words, horrible and magnificent. Yes, my expectations for this one were through the proverbial roof.Which made the fall that much more painful. A Guide for Murdered Children is...I hate to say it, but it's a hot mess. Books that span genres can be exciting, compelling, and fun, but the blend of mystery, horror, and supernatural just didn't work for me. Sparrow can't seem to decide what she wants this book to be. There's a lot of needless hand-wringing - by the wronged children, no less - about the futility of revenge, and doesn't murder (in some cases, very clear-cut cases of self-defense) make them as bad as their killers? I suppose most rape revenge stories tackle ethical dilemmas such as these, but the many plot twists thrown in to facilitate the soul-searching in A Guide for Murdered Children make everything so damn tiring. By the time we get to Lydia's monologue to Willow, I was just like "can we not"? More Punisher, less Daredevil, please. I mean I think we can all agree, since we're talking about pedophiles and child killers here, right? Since many of the characters are children posing as adults (or enmeshed with them, might be a better description), the dialogue is...tricky. Sparrow makes them seem a little too juvenile - overly-innocent, maybe, given what they'd been through - and the dialogue often feels clunky and overdone. On the other end of the spectrum, many/most of the characters occasionally think in $10 words that seem completely ill-fitted to them. I didn't really connect with any of the protagonists, and I outright despised Detective Willow Millard Wylde. Like, are we supposed to root for this guy? Willow is a walking cliché: the corrupt narcotics officer who steals from dealers; the disgraced, hard-drinking Big City Homicide Detective; the shitty "whoring" husband; and the even shittier absentee father who tries to buy his daughter off with a puppy. (Adopt, don't shop.) Dude is a straight-up womanizer who basically fantasizes about maybe raping his new neighbor. ("Willow flashed on pushing her against the living room wall and sticking his tongue down her throat. He wondered if she’d submit. How long would it take for her to push him away? Would it be a push? Or a kick in the balls?" Make no mistake: What he is describing is sexual assault.) But they hook up and fall in love, so I guess that makes it okay.And then there's the matter of his boss covering up multiple cases of police misconduct and brutality. I've never been a big fan of this trope, but even less so considering what's going on in the news. Like, I get that surface appearances are hecka different from the meat of the matter, but Owen doesn't know that. Yet he agrees to a whopper of a lie so that Daniel can go out a hero cop - and to save the department's reputation. This is gross, and it's gross precisely because it's the sort of thing that happens all the time IRL.The most generous thing I can say about A Guide for Murdered Children is that the idea was intriguing enough to keep me reading from beginning to end - not once did I consider DNF'ing. Otherwise it's a pretty disappointing example of great idea/poor execution. I can only hope that the finished version will be a little more polished (I read an early copy eight months prior to publication). www.easyvegan.info/2018/03/20/a-guide...
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    A Guide for Murdered Children is a supernatural-realism thriller centered around the belief that one day, a murdered child gets to find their moment of balance when they are resurrected into the body of an unsuspecting landlord who themselves have recently died.First and foremost I have to say that I have never read a book like this before in my life. The concept was inventive and for the most part was executed very well. There was a perverse sense of justice to the moment of balance and the bo A Guide for Murdered Children is a supernatural-realism thriller centered around the belief that one day, a murdered child gets to find their moment of balance when they are resurrected into the body of an unsuspecting landlord who themselves have recently died.First and foremost I have to say that I have never read a book like this before in my life. The concept was inventive and for the most part was executed very well. There was a perverse sense of justice to the moment of balance and the book stirred up issues of questionable morals, and I am a firm advocate of books that make you think no matter how weird the thought.That being said, the book started on very rocky ground. The mystery that was trying to be maintained about the world of the story went so far that I was utterly confused and nearly stopped reading a number of times. Personally I don’t like not finishing a book so pushed through, but a lot of people won’t wait to get a fifth of the way through (which is where things started to get a lot clearer) before putting it down. Ex big city narcotics turned cold case cop, Willow “Dubya” Wydle is drawn back to the sleepy Detroit town where he used to live. His team reopens the case of missing brother and sister Troy and Maya Rummer that shook the town twenty years ago. Whilst solving that mystery Willow is also trying to solve one that has him drawn to a woman called Annie who introduces herself to him as The Porter. Willow is that tough corrupt cop that you’re meant to love despite his past, but in reality you don’t care too much about his journey and mostly wait impatiently for him to know things the audience already does.At first it was confusing differentiating between tenant (child) and landlord (adult) as both hosted the same body and could come and go without any warning/trigger but it was smart once you got your head around the switcheroo’s. It wasn’t until two thirds/three quarters of the way in that anything really interesting happened, which was too far in. But once the clues started dropping and unexpected twists literally made me gasp, I couldn’t wait to read to the end.The term “Haywire” was used as scapegoat for a lot of inconsistencies (which I can’t elaborate on without spoilers) and for me the book just left to many major questions unanswered that was blanketed by the continued message of the Porters to “Not ask the big questions” and to just “Trust and accept.” – Others may be okay with it but for me some sense of explanation – even a hypothetical one to Who is in charge of this whole Porter, Train, Children’s Justice malarkey?! would have been nice.Instinctually I would not recommend this book. On the other hand now that I’ve read it I want others to read it too so it can be discussed and also appreciated for how unique it is. Okay that’s all folks, but bear in mind that as this is an advanced readers copy, so by the time this book comes out (March 2018?) some of my dislikes about it may have been ironed out.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    I fully admit to being sucked in by the title and then I stayed for the plot.In a nutshell: Murdered children are reincarnated into the bodies of recently deceased adults. Their mission? To achieve a "moment of balance" aka revenge on their killers for their untimely demise.A Guide for Murdered Children was a solid 3.5 stars for me. The premise is super unique and interesting and it definitely kept my interest the entire way through. However, they are so many characters, as you have both the chi I fully admit to being sucked in by the title and then I stayed for the plot.In a nutshell: Murdered children are reincarnated into the bodies of recently deceased adults. Their mission? To achieve a "moment of balance" aka revenge on their killers for their untimely demise.A Guide for Murdered Children was a solid 3.5 stars for me. The premise is super unique and interesting and it definitely kept my interest the entire way through. However, they are so many characters, as you have both the children tenants, their adult landlords, the killers, and a handful of others. I needed to make a character map to keep everyone straight. The plot also moves pretty slow at times—no fault of the author, I think the story requires a lot of exposition and background—but you're going to be tempted to skim and I'd recommend not doing that because you'll need the information later.Obviously, there are darker topics at play. Murder of children. Rape. Abuse. But if you appreciate a good revenge story, there's that going for you.Is it worth a read? Yes. Will it be a slow process? Most likely. Will the Comic Sans on the cover constantly bug you? The whole time.Thank you Edelweiss and Blue Rider Press for letting me read.
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  • Kyle
    January 1, 1970
    Actual rating: 1.5DNF @ 75%First, I’d like to thank Dutton/Penguin Random House for this ARC.Second, I must point out that, yes, I didn’t necessarily finish the book, but I read enough to offer me what feels like a semblance of appropriateness in giving this review.Okay. Let’s get the pros out of the way:•Sarah Sparrow has a wonderfully creative mind. Her writing is unique and wholly imaginative.•At a glance, the plot is intriguing. I was very eager to read this book, because the originality of Actual rating: 1.5DNF @ 75%First, I’d like to thank Dutton/Penguin Random House for this ARC.Second, I must point out that, yes, I didn’t necessarily finish the book, but I read enough to offer me what feels like a semblance of appropriateness in giving this review.Okay. Let’s get the pros out of the way:•Sarah Sparrow has a wonderfully creative mind. Her writing is unique and wholly imaginative.•At a glance, the plot is intriguing. I was very eager to read this book, because the originality of the synopsis alone is enough.But (and here come the cons), the execution is just not there. In the first few chapters alone, my brain was already swimming. It came off as if Ms. Sparrow took two handfuls of various genres, and tossed them in between the pages, but never once trying to nail it down to anything specific. In that regard, the book felt like an over-complicated and muddled mess.Really, there’s just too damn much happening on each page. I consider myself to have a pretty good grasp on absurd plots that go every-which-way, but there was a manic and frenetic energy to the story that threw me for a loop. I was admittedly confused for a a majority of this novel, as it jumped around between POV’s and perspectives. It’s hard to keep track of all that is going on. And it is a fairly dense book, too. Character-wise, I didn’t much care for Willow, either, and that put a damper on the reading experience.I really wanted to enjoy this more.I’m mentally exhausted now that’s it’s done.
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  • The Behrg
    January 1, 1970
    "A Guide for Murdered Children" has all the ingredients needed for an amazing book - a unique concept, an inventive hook, troubled characters, and some phenomenal and edgy writing. Unfortunately just tossing all the ingredients into a big pan and hoping it comes out in the end doesn't always work. What this book is missing is a solid through-line. There's no plot. Nothing that drives the story forward. Instead we have half a dozen subplots and tacked together character lines that never coalesce "A Guide for Murdered Children" has all the ingredients needed for an amazing book - a unique concept, an inventive hook, troubled characters, and some phenomenal and edgy writing. Unfortunately just tossing all the ingredients into a big pan and hoping it comes out in the end doesn't always work. What this book is missing is a solid through-line. There's no plot. Nothing that drives the story forward. Instead we have half a dozen subplots and tacked together character lines that never coalesce into something stronger. I really wanted to love this book. Sparrow certainly has some chops and there were some great moments in this, but overall it just didn't deliver an experience and felt as if it were three drafts short of a final product. Worth checking out, if nothing more than for Sparrow's unique style. Hopefully others will enjoy what just didn't work for me."Every monster dreams. Every monster imagines, aspires."* I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley. My thanks to the author and publisher.
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  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    January 1, 1970
    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/'No: closure wasn’t relief or release, it was a balancing of scales, that’s all. When the scales were balanced, order and some kind of serenity returned to the world, in spite of oneself.'When I first started to read this novel, I was lost. I just couldn’t flow with it then I couldn’t really figure out what the heck was going on. Children are dead, we meet two young siblings Troy and Maya at the start pnly to know the will be snuffed out, then s via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/'No: closure wasn’t relief or release, it was a balancing of scales, that’s all. When the scales were balanced, order and some kind of serenity returned to the world, in spite of oneself.'When I first started to read this novel, I was lost. I just couldn’t flow with it then I couldn’t really figure out what the heck was going on. Children are dead, we meet two young siblings Troy and Maya at the start pnly to know the will be snuffed out, then something strange happens to Deputy Lydia and her partner Daniel and everything turns bizarre. By the middle of the book I’m finally moving along and realizing this is other-worldly. Children are returning to avenge their deaths in host bodies of adults, a sort of merging takes place but it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. The children have their own painful memories, fears and longings. What happened to them is disturbing. Willow is the cold case detective who has a connection to the siblings that seemed to have ‘dropped off the face of the earth’ in 2000, it was personal to both he and his daughter. Willow has always had a gift with visions and dreams, ‘spooky stuff’ that aided him. But nothing he has imagined can compete with reality.The returning children of the deceased are called Tenants, they are merged with Landlords (adults) and I won’t give away how the adults are ripe for housing the children. They all have a mission, and a time limit to attain their ‘moment of balance.’ I realize all of this is gibberish until you actually read the novel. This is one of the hardest stories to review for me, it’s a very strange creation. A part of me felt horrified for the parents in the aftermath, then for the children who had to return and often I was dizzy with trying to keep track of everything that had happened in the past and how it tied into the present. I think my blood-lust for revenge on those who harm children in particular is off the charts, so I kept waiting to feel ‘all is right with the world, there is balance’. Of course, there could never truly be an equal balance, there is nothing in this world that can ever avenge the murder of an innocent, I’ll never be convinced otherwise. Still, there must be some sort of justice, someone must be held accountable, regardless of how many years have passed. Without answers, it’s just added, unimaginable torture for those left behind.I was lost in several early chapters, the middle I started to get into the story and the end moved me, then I was wondering if this is intended to become a series for Willow? Not sure. I think some readers will struggle with it, it’s crazy but I can imagine this as a TV show, maybe it would be easier for others to wrap their mind around that way. There are a lot of readers out there into this type of fiction. I had a hard time with it but it is a unique story-line.I liked it for it’s originality, and I certainly felt sorrow for Troy and Maya and wanted to see it to the end for their sake. Not my usual read.Publication Date: March 20, 2018Penguin GroupBlue Rider Press
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. This book is about revenge, and as such, it should be deeply satisfying. The Guide for Murdered Children refers to a booklet that is handed out to - you guessed it – murdered children, who have returned in the bodies of "tenants" (dead adults, reanimated just for the purpose of exacting revenge on the killer) during fake AA meetings by a "porter". Sounds complicated? It is. Unfortunately, the complication gets more convoluted as it g I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. This book is about revenge, and as such, it should be deeply satisfying. The Guide for Murdered Children refers to a booklet that is handed out to - you guessed it – murdered children, who have returned in the bodies of "tenants" (dead adults, reanimated just for the purpose of exacting revenge on the killer) during fake AA meetings by a "porter". Sounds complicated? It is. Unfortunately, the complication gets more convoluted as it goes along. In short: this book is a mess. It tries to cover all sorts of bases (revenge, murder mystery, police procedural - you name it) and attempts to span several genres (horror, crime, fantasy). I am sorry to say that it did not succeed. That said, however: the author can write, she has a vivid imagination and a firm grasp on gruesome narratives, and this is what kept me going. It is a shame she was not teamed up with an equally talented editor/agent.
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  • Joy
    January 1, 1970
    Please note that I received this book from Netgalley while it was still a work in progress. For that reason, I have decided to spoiler my review in case there are those that want to give the published book a fighting chance. (view spoiler)[The title in contrast with the cover caught my attention. The premise in the summary sounded promising and in truth, the idea behind the story was a great idea. But that's about it. The characters felt shallow. The writing flow did begin to improve halfway thr Please note that I received this book from Netgalley while it was still a work in progress. For that reason, I have decided to spoiler my review in case there are those that want to give the published book a fighting chance. (view spoiler)[The title in contrast with the cover caught my attention. The premise in the summary sounded promising and in truth, the idea behind the story was a great idea. But that's about it. The characters felt shallow. The writing flow did begin to improve halfway through the book, but even so it still wasn't great. The formatting for this was horrendous and the constant typo and grammatical issues were truly distracting. The book wasn't immersive at all. My biggest issue with the book was the beginning. Although the story itself was hard to follow and confusing due to the writing, the beginning was the worst offender. It was so convoluted that I found myself re-reading pages and getting frustrated at it all. If it weren't for my conviction to follow through with a review, I would have not finished it. And it took me longer than normal for me to get through this.Maybe the finished book will work out the kinks this had, but I can't say I would re-read it to find out. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    A Guide for Murdered Children by Sarah Sparrow a thought provoking four-star read. I picked this book up as the title grabbed me, making me think I must have read it wrong but then read the info and though what a different read and it really is. It’s not for the faint of heart as the subject matter is a little raw and not something everyone will enjoy, but if you go into it with an open mind, and understand that it will get there in the end as revenge is a major player in this book. (Bare that i A Guide for Murdered Children by Sarah Sparrow a thought provoking four-star read. I picked this book up as the title grabbed me, making me think I must have read it wrong but then read the info and though what a different read and it really is. It’s not for the faint of heart as the subject matter is a little raw and not something everyone will enjoy, but if you go into it with an open mind, and understand that it will get there in the end as revenge is a major player in this book. (Bare that in mind when you read as it does make it more palatable) The cover adds some comic relief to the story and at times you will be wondering if you can carry on, but do keep going the whole story makes a captivating, compelling read that although dark will give you some light to contemplate as well. The whole concept and content of this book isn’t something I would normally read, but I couldn’t put it down once I got into the story.Thank you Netgally and the author for allowing me to read this compelling story.
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.DNF @ 20%I was absolutely hooked by the title + the cover + synopsis. There was no way that I wasn't requesting this because it was going to be a surefire winner with me. When I was approved for the ARC, I was totally pumped.As another reviewer so eloquently put it: "The cover of this book is incredible but what the hell is inside?" The writing style was absolutely chaotic and a complete mess. I'm sure there Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.DNF @ 20%I was absolutely hooked by the title + the cover + synopsis. There was no way that I wasn't requesting this because it was going to be a surefire winner with me. When I was approved for the ARC, I was totally pumped.As another reviewer so eloquently put it: "The cover of this book is incredible but what the hell is inside?" The writing style was absolutely chaotic and a complete mess. I'm sure there was a creative reason for it but unfortunately I wasn't able to follow and enjoy. I struggled to understand what was going on between the flipped perspectives and players. A promising plot that hopefully others will be able to decipher.
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  • Chrissy
    January 1, 1970
    I'll admit, I was drawn to this book based just on the title. And then I read the synopsis. A book about murdered children returning to Earth through a recently deceased adult to exact revenge? Sign me up! The first few chapters were actually really difficult to follow. I thought about giving up, but the premise was too enticing. I'm glad I stuck with it, because once I was able to figure out who was who and what was what, it was one heck of a roller coaster! Some of the subject matter was prett I'll admit, I was drawn to this book based just on the title. And then I read the synopsis. A book about murdered children returning to Earth through a recently deceased adult to exact revenge? Sign me up! The first few chapters were actually really difficult to follow. I thought about giving up, but the premise was too enticing. I'm glad I stuck with it, because once I was able to figure out who was who and what was what, it was one heck of a roller coaster! Some of the subject matter was pretty heavy (it IS a book about murdered children, after all) but nothing was overly gruesome. It was one of the most imaginative books I've ever read!(I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    Couldn't get through the first chapter. Seems to be written in some weird, stream-of-consciousness-type style that was extremely off-putting. Premise sounded amazing.
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin/Blue Rider Press for the ARC of this novel in exchange for a honest review. When I read the NetGalley synopsis this book was very intriguing: murdered children coming back as deceased adults to exact revenge on their murderers. Very original! Unfortunately, that original plot is the only reason this book earned a star. The book is REALLY confusing. Honestly, I had to reread a lot of pages in order to figure it out. And I’ll give it to the book that it was forma Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin/Blue Rider Press for the ARC of this novel in exchange for a honest review. When I read the NetGalley synopsis this book was very intriguing: murdered children coming back as deceased adults to exact revenge on their murderers. Very original! Unfortunately, that original plot is the only reason this book earned a star. The book is REALLY confusing. Honestly, I had to reread a lot of pages in order to figure it out. And I’ll give it to the book that it was formatted since it’s an I corrected proof but wonky page formatting doesn’t cause a book to be confusing on its own. There were some parts that were so confusing I just stopped reading and moved on. There were a lot of parts of the book that could be written a little more straightforward and still maintained the integrity of the book.Second, some of the child death scenes are really graphic. I am not normally offended by sex or murder and I regularly read books with heavy themes but some of the graphicness was not necessary and seemed more gratuitous than actually contributing to the plot. Lastly, the author had a strange writing quirk that really bugged me. Any time she mentioned a new city or suburb she gave you a point of reference to the most well known city but considering this all took place in relatively the same area it wasn’t necessary after the 3rd or 4th new city. Also, I live in the area that this book tales place and some of the information was incorrect but I’ll let her pass on that one since 99% of readers are not going to notice that one. I really wanted to like this one but I just couldn’t.
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  • Rose Elliott
    January 1, 1970
    Mysterious, mystical, and unusual are all words that can be used to describe Sarah Sparrow’s debut novel, A Guide for Murdered Children. Confusing, scattered, and dragging at parts are also words that can be used to describe this novel. I picked up this book as an ARC from NetGalley back in October. I had high hopes, I really did. A story about murdered children who come back to avenge their deaths? Magnificent! Unique! Sure to be incredible! A Guide for Murdered Children did meet my expectation Mysterious, mystical, and unusual are all words that can be used to describe Sarah Sparrow’s debut novel, A Guide for Murdered Children. Confusing, scattered, and dragging at parts are also words that can be used to describe this novel. I picked up this book as an ARC from NetGalley back in October. I had high hopes, I really did. A story about murdered children who come back to avenge their deaths? Magnificent! Unique! Sure to be incredible! A Guide for Murdered Children did meet my expectations in many ways. But it also missed the mark in others.My full review can be found here. I received a free digital advance reader's copy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Caitlyn Dill
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, how I wanted to enjoy this book. I loved the concept so much. However, I found it moved along incredibly slowly, especially because exposition and descriptions of certain characters happened over and over again (I was introduced to the same character at least twice and was given the same description both times). There were absolutely fascinating aspects of this book, but it felt like the different pieces of the tapestry were just floating too far away from one another to be pulled back toget Oh, how I wanted to enjoy this book. I loved the concept so much. However, I found it moved along incredibly slowly, especially because exposition and descriptions of certain characters happened over and over again (I was introduced to the same character at least twice and was given the same description both times). There were absolutely fascinating aspects of this book, but it felt like the different pieces of the tapestry were just floating too far away from one another to be pulled back together and to be made sense of.
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  • River
    January 1, 1970
    We all say there is no justice in this world. But what if there really was? What if the souls of murdered children were able to return briefly to this world, inhabit adult bodies and wreak ultimate revenge on the monsters who had killed them, stolen their lives?Thanks to Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I was immediately drawn to this book when I first heard about it. The premise left me intrigued, albeit unsure of the genre, so I decided to just jump in and see w We all say there is no justice in this world. But what if there really was? What if the souls of murdered children were able to return briefly to this world, inhabit adult bodies and wreak ultimate revenge on the monsters who had killed them, stolen their lives?Thanks to Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I was immediately drawn to this book when I first heard about it. The premise left me intrigued, albeit unsure of the genre, so I decided to just jump in and see what I thought. The story itself might be unusual, but it is pretty much what it says on the tin. Sparrow merges the unlikely combination of murdered children and whimsy, creating a unique and original story. While I enjoyed many elements of the plot, I have to say that it took some time to get into the writing style. It seems a little stilted in places, particularly over some lines of dialogue. Overall, due to the subject matter and writing style, this is a book that I enjoyed but would not recommend for everyone.
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  • Amber
    January 1, 1970
    Where to begin. Well, when I started this book, I thought it was just one book. When I kept reading to no end, I realized that it was actually 3 books put together. It does make for a VERY long read that way, however, as a person that really dislikes a cliff hangar without being able to jump right into the next part of the story, I appreciated being able to read all of it together. It was well written, detailed. As having lived in the area that the story line is based out of, I could see the pla Where to begin. Well, when I started this book, I thought it was just one book. When I kept reading to no end, I realized that it was actually 3 books put together. It does make for a VERY long read that way, however, as a person that really dislikes a cliff hangar without being able to jump right into the next part of the story, I appreciated being able to read all of it together. It was well written, detailed. As having lived in the area that the story line is based out of, I could see the places that author was describing. There wasn't a singular main character but there were a few and then supporting characters, of course. Dubya, the recovering alcoholic cop who returned home with his tail between his legs and trying to hang on to his sobriety and sanity, is presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity. He is asked to head up a new division for the police department, a cold case division. Annie, the eternal mother of the children on the train, is trying to hold it all together even though she knows her time is coming to an end. Lidya and Daniel are young cops finding their way through the ropes and get pushed into Ol' Dubya's path. As the story progresses, Dubya (real name Willow) is trying to teach his two new recruits how to work the cold cases and they are drawn to one in particular. One that Dubya has a personal attachment to. As they stack the blocks to solve what is happening, Dubya is trying to figure out his dreams about the train and the blue children he keeps seeing on the train. Without giving too much away, to summarize what is happening, a person (usually an adult) dies suddenly and a child that has been murdered comes through and reanimates that body. Both persons reside there as "landlord and tennent". It is up to the tennent (the child) to find their killer and seek their "moment of balance" in order to board the train one last time and finally cross over. The person that leads the children by offering support and support groups is the Porter (Annie). It's a race against time and when things start to go "haywire", everyone becomes concern that not all will be revealed.
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  • Cat
    January 1, 1970
    A Guide for Murdered Children by Sarah Sparrow is a serious read; not a feel-good happy book. If you enjoy reading something that pushes the limits of what is possible, especially about a subject people don’t want to discuss, you would get into this book. I kept notes as I read, jotting down each character and their relation to others if known. This helped me as I got further into the book. It involves a lot of different types and personalities of people and jumps to different time frames instan A Guide for Murdered Children by Sarah Sparrow is a serious read; not a feel-good happy book. If you enjoy reading something that pushes the limits of what is possible, especially about a subject people don’t want to discuss, you would get into this book. I kept notes as I read, jotting down each character and their relation to others if known. This helped me as I got further into the book. It involves a lot of different types and personalities of people and jumps to different time frames instantly. Because of my notes, I was able to follow easier and this really helped me follow the storyline.Children who are murdered are, without asking, given a chance to live again thru another person, hunting for their killer and seeking the “moment of balance”. The person whose body they inhibit wasn't asked either. They’ve died some sort of instant death, but in the few moments after death, they draw a breath again, but now share two souls in the one body. This concept is interesting and I think the author did an excellent job of transitioning between the adult and the young child, especially in regard to love, family, and sex. As I got into the story, it seemed that something at the weekly meeting was going wrong. The Porter (the person in charge of helping these shared souls coexist, again without consent), seemed to be losing touch with 2-3 of the children. A mistake had been made when a murdered child was entered into the body of a criminal. Here lies the major plot of the book. At times humorous, sad, intriguing, and at some points a bit slow, it’s a read that will keep your attention. I enjoyed the writer’s style. It required an effort on my part. Some sections I had to reread, others I had to flip back to refresh my memory. All in all, I wanted to complete this story and learn how it ended. If the plot of this could possibly happen one day I’d find some comfort in knowing that the lives of the helpless children had been avenged.My thanks go to the Publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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  • MollyK
    January 1, 1970
    **** Goodreads give away winner ****Reader beware triggers, triggers and triggers abound. If you are a reader not faint of heart and enjoy a dark, twisted, yet hauntingly beautiful read this may be the book for you. Personally I entered to win the book solely based on the name and cover. Pink and unicorns and murder! So me. I even had the perfect homemade bookmark to use (pink w/ skulls and butterflies). So this book was right up my literary alley and I was not disappointed. Yes it was dark and **** Goodreads give away winner ****Reader beware triggers, triggers and triggers abound. If you are a reader not faint of heart and enjoy a dark, twisted, yet hauntingly beautiful read this may be the book for you. Personally I entered to win the book solely based on the name and cover. Pink and unicorns and murder! So me. I even had the perfect homemade bookmark to use (pink w/ skulls and butterflies). So this book was right up my literary alley and I was not disappointed. Yes it was dark and at times rather horrifying. So much so that, at times, the writing literally took my breath away. I would have to put the innocent looking pink book aside so I could digest and decompress from what I had just read. Yet I never found the violence to be gratuitous. I sat there in the victim’s pain for a moment, but I never felt it was porned out. I was also impressed with how much philosophy was packed into the story. Themes of violence and compassion, retribution and forgiveness, and love. Most of all, paradoxically, this is a book of love and hope.
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  • Deanna Reads Books
    January 1, 1970
    This review was originally posted on my review blog Deanna Reads BooksThis is a book that was just not for me. I also think this is the book that made me realize that I should just DNF books instead of forcing myself to read things I don’t enjoy. I hate when I dislike a book and writing negative book reviews is not something I like to do. I also would like to preface this review with the fact that I received an early advanced reader’s copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review back in This review was originally posted on my review blog Deanna Reads BooksThis is a book that was just not for me. I also think this is the book that made me realize that I should just DNF books instead of forcing myself to read things I don’t enjoy. I hate when I dislike a book and writing negative book reviews is not something I like to do. I also would like to preface this review with the fact that I received an early advanced reader’s copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review back in August. I put it in the back of my piles in the fall due to the pub date not being until March, and then when I picked it back up in December I just couldn’t get into. So unfortunately, for me, this book was a huge miss.I love true crime and I love weird scifi/fantasy things so when I read the summary of this book I thought I would love it! But, I have a really hard time with books when I don’t connect with the main character. Willow, our ex-cop addict “hero” could not have been more unlikeable if Sparrow tried. I could not stand him and I wondered if we as readers were supposed to like this guy. It was a little unclear. I can forgive a lot in books if I really connect with a character, but with this book I just couldn’t stand Willow and some of the thoughts that pop into his head. There’s a line in the book where he is staying in his daughter’s attic after his stint it rehab and he says, “He was feeling like Anne Frank up there.” Granted I read an advanced reader copy, so maybe a wise editor cut this out in the final, but that line really bothered me! It wasn’t the first or last instance of some random throw away line that I found offensive. Much earlier in the book the “R” word was used to describe a mentally challenged child, which I really do not like. Later in the book when Willow is talking with one of his friends from rehab he says, “She was a dyke but he’d know many in his time who experienced the phenomenon of SDC—Sudden Dick Craving” WTF!!There are a lot of things about Willow that just really rubbed me the wrong way.The plot of this novel is interesting but I think the execution makes it flawed. The concept that murdered children get a second-chance at life so they can hunt down their killers and bring them to justice is interesting, but it’s never explained how this works. The characters themselves even talk in circles about how they don’t know how they are supposed to reach their “moment of balance”. The Guides they are given essentially say, “don’t ask questions, just trust” and it makes it feels like that is what the author is asking readers to do too. I was also uncomfortable with the idea that children are in adult bodies and some are still being intimate with partners. That just put a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.I decided to finish this novel because once they got into investigating the murder of Maya and Troy Rummer that was interesting to me, and I wanted to see if they would figure it out and bring their killer to justice. But that happened about 40% into the book, so I feel like there was a ton that could have been cut out of this story. When you do find out the killer, he seems to go on this really clique waxing poetic soliloquy, it was almost cartoonish to the point that I had lost my faith in the writing. There was a lot that could have been cut off, even a lot of the stuff with Honeychile. She seems really build up as an important main character and she is for a while, but at the end her character just seemed flat to me. I really did not enjoy reading this book. I think the concept was interesting, but overall the execution just fell very flat. I wonder if a lot of the things I mentioned had been ironed out in a later draft. I would be interested to hear how other people feel about this one. *I received a free egalley copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.Happy Reads Everyone!
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  • Amanda Drover-Hartwick
    January 1, 1970
    All of my reviews are always SPOILER FREE.I received an advanced copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.A Guide for Murdered Children is separated into three books: "Closely Watched Trains", "The Spirit Room", and "Local and Express". While reading the first 25% of this book the first time around I was terribly confused. I honestly had no idea what in the world was happening. The story flipped from past to pr All of my reviews are always SPOILER FREE.I received an advanced copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.A Guide for Murdered Children is separated into three books: "Closely Watched Trains", "The Spirit Room", and "Local and Express". While reading the first 25% of this book the first time around I was terribly confused. I honestly had no idea what in the world was happening. The story flipped from past to present and it was challenging to keep everything straight. I almost decided to stop reading it, instead I flipped to the beginning to try again. I'm SO GLAD that I did, because I understood it much better the second time around.Detective Willow "Dubya" Wylde is presently at a rehab in Arizona. He's made some really bad choices in life, ruining his career and family. It's time to make amends and restore balance. The story flips to the past where we meet brother and sister, Troy and Maya on the day they were murdered in Saggerty Falls, Michigan. Back to the present we meet Deputy Lydia Molloy as she falls to her death at the Macomb Orchard Trail and Deputy Daniel Doheny, who dies from a heart attack. In the present eleven year old Winston is also murdered around the same time that Renée "Honeychile" Devonshire dies from an asthma attack. The murdered children's spirits enter the body of those who have recently died (usually adults except for Honeychile) in order to achieve their moment of balance by killing the person who took their life. As the murdered children's spirits enter their "landlords", the "landlord" body comes back to life - so the people who know the "landlords" don't realize they have died. I hope that made sense. I'll wait while you go back and re-read that part...Okay, you following me?Annie, the Porter, greets the new arrivals on the train, giving them the address for the meeting. There are also Subalterns on the train, who are ancient, shadowy beings. Annie, The Porter, knows her replacement is coming soon but doesn't know who it is yet. At the meeting the murdered children are given the Guidebook of rules they must follow.Detective Willow has a recurring dream of being on a train. In the dream the Porter gives him an address. When he wakes up he decides to go to the address, discovering it's the new house of his ex-wife and her new husband Owen, who is Willow's old cop partner. He makes up a story that he's there to make amends with both of them, and Owen asks Willow to join his new Cold Case team. In Book Two and Three there are a lot of twists and turns, it kept me turning the pages wondering what in the world was going to happen next.A Guide for Murdered Children is an extremely out-of-the-box concept of balance and forgiveness. It's a little far-fetched for a Mystery/Thriller, you'll have to put aside your questions and just let it be revealed to you.The main character, Willow, is seriously annoying. I don't think he experiences enough of a transition to make me like him in the end. If you like unlikable characters he might be right up your alley. Although I did not enjoy Willow's character, I enjoyed Annie, and Willow's ex-wife. I would have loved more information about the Subalterns.The book is too long and can benefit by an editor not afraid to trim the unnecessary bits. If you can get past the first 25%, and let your mind wander outside of reality, then I think you'll enjoy this thriller.Find more spoiler-free book reviews on my blog: www.amandadroverhartwick.wordpress.com
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  • Carlee
    January 1, 1970
    This was a really interesting story.What had me intrigued was the cover at first, but when I read the description, I knew I wanted to read it. The idea of murdered children coming back to inhabit the bodies of adults and take revenge on their murderers was really interesting. The book has so much more to offer than that, though.The story follows a few different children as they come back to life and search for their killers. The children all cross paths with one another at one of the weekly meet This was a really interesting story.What had me intrigued was the cover at first, but when I read the description, I knew I wanted to read it. The idea of murdered children coming back to inhabit the bodies of adults and take revenge on their murderers was really interesting. The book has so much more to offer than that, though.The story follows a few different children as they come back to life and search for their killers. The children all cross paths with one another at one of the weekly meetings created to ease the transition between being a murdered child and a functioning adult. Annie is a porter and her job is to help the children make sense of what is going on along with help from the Guide.To go alongside the story of the children coming back to kill their murderers, we have Willow "Dubya" Wilde and his battle with alcoholism. He has just returned to the force as a Cold Case Detective, thanks to his ex-wife, after a stint in rehab. But Willow isn't your ordinary recovering addict and there is much more to his story than meets the eye.It was a fairly quick read and I found myself reading large chunks at a time with ease. I really enjoyed the twists and turns. A lot of which, I didn't see coming. I figured out who killed Troy and Maya, but was a little caught off guard by Winston's murderer. It all seemed to fit perfectly in the end, though, which was nice. All the children's paths cross not only during the meetings but outside of the meetings in their search for their moment of balance.The story contains its own unique vocabulary too, which I liked. It's sort of like the wizarding world has their own language, so why not the world of the murdered children's souls?Now warning to the faint of heart with this one, it's about murdered children. I know, surprise, right? Seriously though, there are some pretty graphic scenes when it comes to the children remembering how they died and taking their revenge. I feel like the title is pretty straightforward on that, but I've read book reviews in the past where reviewers were mad when there were graphic scenes. It is a bout murdered children, hence the title. So there, you've been warned.The only thing I didn't like is that there are some unanswered questions about how it all works. Annie constantly answers questions by referring to the Great Mystery and Willow, in the end, does the same. What happened, though, to Dabba Doo? Did Winston receive his moment of balance after all? Why did Dabba Doo inhabit Roy Eakins? Was it all a result of the haywire?My list goes on.Despite that, the overall story was great. I found myself wanting to read it over the other books I'm currently reading, which there usually isn't one that take precedence over another unless it's a required book for a class. I wanted to know if my assumptions were right and, honestly, I wanted to know what happened to all the characters. Willow, Lydia/Maya, Daniel/Troy, and Annie all had me invested in their story.I'm definitely glad this one grabbed my attention on NetGalley and thanks again to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC. It is always a pleasure to get my hands on something good to come.Like I said, the concept was really interesting and I honestly hope there is more to come from Sarah Sparrow. Perhaps, a guide for murdered adults? Or a guide for porters? More from Willow? Just a thought.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked the premise of this book, and found the entire concept of landlords and tenants intriguing. I kind of have to laugh at anyone who found the book's concept offensive. IT'S ABOUT MURDERED CHILDREN. What did you think was going to happen? I thought the author did a great job of anticipating questions readers might have and proactively addressing him (like, "why are there so many murdered children in the area?" "what happens if you miss your balance moment?") I also thought all of the I really liked the premise of this book, and found the entire concept of landlords and tenants intriguing. I kind of have to laugh at anyone who found the book's concept offensive. IT'S ABOUT MURDERED CHILDREN. What did you think was going to happen? I thought the author did a great job of anticipating questions readers might have and proactively addressing him (like, "why are there so many murdered children in the area?" "what happens if you miss your balance moment?") I also thought all of the references to pop culture were spot on (music, Stranger Things, Kary Perry, etc.). Some of the challenges I had with the book seemed like they could be solved with editing. For one, I felt like the book started off slow and was confusing at times (for example, Willow being at the BBQ where Troy and Maya were murdered had me lost a bit in time and space.) I also really disliked the switching between landlord and tenant names within passages. For example, in one bit "Maya" is saying something and then a paragraph later "Lydia." I get they're the same person, so it still makes sense, but it made me the reader have to slow down just to keep track of the conversation and I found that annoying. Lastly, two small quibbles.... When Willow visits Roy/Dabba Doo later in the book at one point he muses "Maybe Roy turned fag." That seemed out of character for Willow. He seemed like a pretty modern guy throughout the book, open to all types of people. He was also pretty chill and respectful to his lesbian friend. So to have him drop a slur like that out of nowhere just seemed odd, ugly and offensive. There's really no reason to call him a "fag" so why do it?Secondly, as someone who is from central Minnesota I feel very protective of the Wetterlings. I thought the author did I fine job of mentioning their case, without getting too deep into specifics. However, when characters later visited, "Jacob's Prairie" (clearly a stand-in for St. Joseph where Jacob lived and died) I got a little grossed out. Call it "Bob's Prairie," "Darla's Prairie," whatever prairie you want, since it's fictional...just would prefer that Jacob's name isn't used. For some who is from here, that felt exploitative.Thanks to the author and NetGalley for granting me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Autumn
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book via NetGalley to give an honest review.So I was looking around on NetGalley and this cover called me to check it out! Pink and the title says A Guide for Murdered Children well I knew I needed to check out the blurb to see if it would be something good. It took me a good 54 to 60 percent into the book to actually get into it and start to truly understand what really was going on. We have adults who have died and children who have died take their place yet the adult who died I received this book via NetGalley to give an honest review.So I was looking around on NetGalley and this cover called me to check it out! Pink and the title says A Guide for Murdered Children well I knew I needed to check out the blurb to see if it would be something good. It took me a good 54 to 60 percent into the book to actually get into it and start to truly understand what really was going on. We have adults who have died and children who have died take their place yet the adult who died is still there sort of. Though the child will get a moment of balance when they get the person who murdered them and pretty much will get the peace they deserve. I thought it was a neat idea. Though for some reason it just seem to drag on and there wasn't really anything cool or interesting happening until towards the end, where we learn that one person has two souls that have entered him and everything seems to come full circle. As far as characters go I didn't really get into them too much, Willow just didn't seem to be on point very much and was torn between being down on his luck, being friendly with his ex, to trying too solve a cold case. Yet there never seem to be much going on what they really had or actually interviewing people. It was kind of weird that the children would engage in adult behaviors while inhabiting the body of the adult yet I could understand why they were doing it to keep up appearances. These children are guided by a porter and follow a guide that gives them advice on how to take care of the body they are in, and what they should be doing. The changing of the characters names in the middle of paragraphs bothered me and I really had to pay attention to who was actually talking. Example being Maya would be talking then all of a sudden the name would switch to Lydia who is the adult that Maya took over. Not sure if the author was just reminding us that there were two people in the same mind frame or not, yet it sometimes was confusing. The author seems to have a good way of writing a story yet I feel as though she over did it with just way to much of different things trying to come together in one. I would have liked more backstory on the porters especially Annie because she seems like a mysterious being. Overall 2 stars, I think with a bit of polishing up this could be a good story to give out to the readers.
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  • Samantha
    January 1, 1970
    A Guide for Murdered Children is a masterpiece in the art of "What If?" What if there is a way for all the children who are taken from this world by monsters and suffer horrible deaths and indignities had a way to not only seek justice but also exact revenge on their murderers? What if there is a cosmic power that permits the spirits of these small victims to inhabit the bodies of newly dead adults and then mythically, magically brings them to a "moment of balance" where the child locates his or A Guide for Murdered Children is a masterpiece in the art of "What If?" What if there is a way for all the children who are taken from this world by monsters and suffer horrible deaths and indignities had a way to not only seek justice but also exact revenge on their murderers? What if there is a cosmic power that permits the spirits of these small victims to inhabit the bodies of newly dead adults and then mythically, magically brings them to a "moment of balance" where the child locates his or her murderer and then returns the favor? Sounds crazy, hard to believe, absolutely fantastic, right? Somehow Sarah Sparrow creates a world where the implausibility of such events is suspended for several hundred pages and makes it all just so. Into this world, she brings a hapless, semi-sober (sometimes, thanks to rehab), hapless detective who is out of shape, out of luck, and seemingly incapable of good decision making. This detective, Willow Wylde by name, finds himself head of a Cold Case squad, revisiting one of the most devastating points in both his career and his family history, working with two young detectives who are more than a bit odd thanks to that little ball of cosmic justice. Sparrow's writing is almost ethereal at points. In fact, it took me a little while to warm up to her style and to actually figure out what was happening. Honestly, I had to read the synopsis again as I questioned what I was getting into. But the world she builds, the characters she creates, and the good old fashioned detective work that takes place ground this book and keeps the reader turning pages. Thanks to Sarah Sparrow, I think trains will give me a spine tingle for a while and I will begin questioning adults who have bouts of childish silliness for many days to come. I enjoyed this novel immensely and found it a refreshing take on an old theme. I look forward to reading more from this author.
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  • Inga
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from Netgalley.I took me a while to get into this book, to want to sit down and read. Part of the reason is that the beginning is somewhat confusing and heavy on setting the mood. Part of it is that the premise is complex.The book starts during a barbeque on July 4th 2000 when siblings Troy and Maya are sent on an errand and never return.Years later a woman called Annie is a porter; she guides and supports children who have been murdered and found an adult body to inhabit for a I received an ARC from Netgalley.I took me a while to get into this book, to want to sit down and read. Part of the reason is that the beginning is somewhat confusing and heavy on setting the mood. Part of it is that the premise is complex.The book starts during a barbeque on July 4th 2000 when siblings Troy and Maya are sent on an errand and never return.Years later a woman called Annie is a porter; she guides and supports children who have been murdered and found an adult body to inhabit for a while until they find and kill their murderer, achieving the so-called moment of balance. But Annie’s time as a porter is coming to an end and so everything goes haywire while the transition to a new porter is complete.Willow Wylde is a dirty cop fresh out of his third rehab who moves back to his hometown, where Troy and Maya disappeared, after years spent in New York. He’s spent years drinking to block out his psychic gifts. By chance he is offered a job in the new cold case unit. He gets two deputies to work the cases, Lydia and Daniel, two cops who have begun acting a bit funny recently, sometimes even childish. They are landlords, adults who have died but are inhabited by a murdered child for a while.This isn’t an easy book to review and I'm not doing a great job of summarising the plot. There are a lot of characters and they are all linked to each other in one way or another. What I can say is that I really enjoyed this book once I got about a fourth into it. It’s well written, although quite heavy on slang, and the premise is very interesting coupled with a mystery about Troy and Maya’s deaths.
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  • Lynda Stevens
    January 1, 1970
    With such a whimsically morbid title it stands to reason we might expect something unusual. The murdered children here return to life by inhabiting a new and adult body at the moment the adults dies a sudden death. A sort of possession or channelling you will, though the host body dies as soon as the child achieves their purpose in visiting retribution on their murderers. They are assisted by a so-called Porter whose psychic abilities allow them to assist the children on their purpose and guidin With such a whimsically morbid title it stands to reason we might expect something unusual. The murdered children here return to life by inhabiting a new and adult body at the moment the adults dies a sudden death. A sort of possession or channelling you will, though the host body dies as soon as the child achieves their purpose in visiting retribution on their murderers. They are assisted by a so-called Porter whose psychic abilities allow them to assist the children on their purpose and guiding them.The hero, or perhaps more precisely, anti-hero of the tale is a former New York detective, ageing alcoholic Willow Wilde. Wylde labours under the crushing sense of failure that may afflict someone in late middle age, who knows they have made a total mess of their life - including never having been able to solve the mystery of two young children who haddisappeared without trace from a barbecue party several decades decades ago. Wilde was unable to cope with his own psychic gifts, so could not draw upon these to.help.But this case I now about to be reopened. Willow has two young cops working under him who seem to have reasons of their own for being interested......The old Porter Is dying and this now means that there is disruption to the old ordered things and questions bring asked about of reliable the guide for murdered children really is. Mistakes are being made too...A Guide for murdered children as a novel seems to be as much about redemption as it is about retribution. Plot wise there are real surprises at work, as the real villains get unmasked. A highly unusual and interestng novel. Recommended.
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  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    This was SO close to 4 stars for me but just not quiiiite there. Do I still recommend others read this? Yes! Here's why...What I liked: awesome premise. The spirits of murdered children come back to share bodies with adults, in order to achieve revenge by murdering their murderer. Badass and unique premise. I also enjoyed one of the main protagonists, Willow. He was a well-developed aging cop reminiscent of some of Tana French's characters. Additionally, there was a turn of events at the end tha This was SO close to 4 stars for me but just not quiiiite there. Do I still recommend others read this? Yes! Here's why...What I liked: awesome premise. The spirits of murdered children come back to share bodies with adults, in order to achieve revenge by murdering their murderer. Badass and unique premise. I also enjoyed one of the main protagonists, Willow. He was a well-developed aging cop reminiscent of some of Tana French's characters. Additionally, there was a turn of events at the end that I did NOT see coming at ALL, which was a delightful surprise. Well, it being a surprise was delightful. The actual event was sad for me as a reader. So why isn't this 4 stars, are you wondering? Somewhere around the 40% to 50% mark, I found the book to be dragging and taking too long to pick up speed. THEN at the end where lots of events and relationships were getting resolved, it felt rushed. So I would argue the pacing of this novel was inconsistent. I also wish the logistics of landlords/tenants were explored more. The details were pretty vague and maybe that's intentional since Annie's guidance as a Porter was also vague. But as a reader, I really wanted more "world-building." I was so in love with the premise that I wanted the mechanics of this supernatural world to be more substantiated. Again, would I recommend this even though I only gave it 3 stars? In a short answer, yes. My conflictedness above is arguably a testament to the book's own originality and complexity. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC!
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