by Justine Larbalestier
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Just released: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Soho Teen
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, YA, Australia
Hardback: 320 pages
The notoriously bloody history of a mob-run Sydney, Australia neighborhood is fertile ground for this historical thriller with a paranormal twist: two girls' ability to see the many ghosts haunting Razorhurst.
Sydney’s deadly Razorhurst neighborhood, 1932. Gloriana Nelson and Mr. Davidson, two ruthless mob bosses, have reached a fragile peace—one maintained by “razor men.” Kelpie, orphaned and homeless, is blessed (and cursed) with the ability to see Razorhurst’s many ghosts. They tell her secrets the living can’t know about the cracks already forming in the mobs’ truce.
Then Kelpie meets Dymphna Campbell, a legendary beauty and prized moll of Gloriana Nelson. She’s earned the nickname “Angel of Death” because none of her beaus has ever survived knowing her. Unbeknownst to Kelpie, Dymphna can see ghosts, too, and she knows that Gloriana’s hold is crumbling one henchman at a time. As loyalties shift and betrayal threatens the two girls at every turn, Dymphna is determined not only to survive, but to rise to the top with Kelpie at her side.
Got a good sense of the 1930s time period in Australia with gang activities and rivalries. Such a dangerous racket to be in. The description of the usage of razors instead of guns as deadly weapons was an interesting bit of history to learn about.
The interesting tweak to this historical piece is the ghost element. The beginning of the story is challenging to follow along as there are conversations of characters and ghosts that criss-cross with only one person in the room who is party to all. However, once familiar with the characters and with who is alive and who is a ghost then things become clear.
* review copy courtesy of edelweiss