cover image Mormama


Kit Reed. Tor, $25.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7653-9044-8

Veteran novelist Reed returns to her Southern roots in this unsatisfying gothic fantasy, a follow-up to 2015’s Where. Theo and his mother, Lane, are forced to return to the crumbling ancestral house in Jacksonville, Fla., where Lane’s three widowed aunts still dwell. Theo quickly realizes there are two more occupants of the house: Dell, an itinerant man with amnesia who has taken up squatting in the basement, and the titular Mormama, the long-dead matriarch of the family. While Lane looks for a job and a way out, and Theo ignores Mormama’s warnings about the house’s fatal effect on the family’s boys, Dell tries to understand what his connection is to the house and digs deeper into its secrets. Despite the intriguing promise of a good ghost tale, the story fails to fuse together, and it ends with no resolution or offer of clarity. Instead, the house’s ancient histories are retold by a dozen different voices, retreading the same ground until the reader feels as trapped as the characters. Agent: John Silbersack, Trident Media Group. (May)