Darcy Coates is the queen of clean but frightening ghost stories. I have read many of her books and this one does not disappoint. Kiera, the principal character, wakes up in the woods with no idea who she is or how she got there. She is bruised and bloody and there are men chasing her. She stumbles upon the home of a pastor, who takes her in and feeds her. He lets her stay in the small groundskeeper’s cottage, which sits in the middle of a nearby cemetery. On the first night of her stay in the cottage, she sees a woman at her window who is clearly a ghost trying to communicate with her. At that, she realizes she can see many ghosts in the cemetery. The woman trying to communicate with her has died tragically over 40 years ago and Keira is determined to help her move on.
Keira makes friends quickly with two people in town; zany Zoe and handsome Mason, a med school drop-out trying to find his way. The novel takes place in Blighty, a tiny little town seemingly in the middle of nowhere with lots of stories and quirky characters. Keira is determined to investigate the mystery of the whispering woman and enlists Zoe and Mason to help her. This is a great cast of characters, and some scenes are laugh out loud funny, which is rare in a ghost story. Of course, we have the evil characters also, such as Gavin who wants to make sure that Keira doesn’t get in his way.
Darcy Coates is a master at her craft. The dialogue is amazing and flows beautifully. How she describes the cemetery is breathtaking, with the lost souls wandering around. While there may be some plot holes in the book—we never find out who Keira actually is and who was following her—I have good faith that the author will cover those in the sequel. There is a dark fog throughout the book, with rain and thunderstorms, that will put you in the mood to be scared. If you have never read this author, I recommend you take the plunge if you love light horror and a good mystery. The Whispering Dead is simply written, as is the author’s usual style.