Welcome to Lily Dale, New York . . . a sleepy summer resort, home to a population of psychics, and the place where Julia Garrity and Kristin Shuttleworth formed a fast friendship broken only by death.
Ten Summer Street is no ordinary house. It was there, fifteen years ago, that Kristin saw something on a Halloween night that would haunt her until the end of her days. Since then, Julia has watched both Kristin and her mother fall prey to whomever—or whatever—lurks there.
Now Kristin's blind six-year-old daughter, Dulcie, has come to live in Lily Dale—at Ten Summer Street. Appointing herself protector, Julia is determined to coax the secrets of the house out into the light, to discover what the little girl "sees" roaming its halls . . . before the murderous force residing there makes them both its next victims.
With this compelling gothic mystery, Staub (The Last to Know) puts a fresh spin on the haunted house formula. Three years after the drowning of his live-in girlfriend, Kristin, Paine Landry is forced to return to Lily Dale, N.Y., a gated resort community of spiritualists and mediums, to settle his former mother-in-law's affairs. Her equally bizarre drowning there makes staying in the dilapidated Victorian inherited by his blind, six-year-old daughter trying for the skeptical Paine, who wants nothing more than to learn the truth behind their deaths. When Paine's daughter and Julia Garrity, Kristin's erstwhile childhood friend and a practicing psychic medium, admit to "seeing" a tortured ghost in the house, Paine decides to sell it back to its former owner, an elderly man whose only wish is to bring his dying wife "home." Too late, Paine and Julia realize that the ghost was trying to warn them of a dangerous force, the same force that claimed Kristin and her mother. Staub deftly weaves several subplots throughout, but a profusion of secondary characters including a pair of bumbling paranormal investigators, Julia's two-timing boyfriend and Kristin's greedy half-brother only serve to complicate an already complex tale. Still, Staub's prose is energetic, and her characters possess enough genuine warmth to keep readers captivated.