The Storycatcher* is the second novel by award-winning author, Ann Hite, and is a follow-up to her first novel, Ghost on Black Mountain, though it is not a direct sequel. The main character of Storycatcher is Shelley Parker, who played a smaller, albeit important role in Ghost. The story delves further into Shelley’s story and her ability to see and interact with troubled ghosts.
Hite has created a beautifully written cast of solidly vivid and deep characters which inhabit two separate but intricately connected Depression Era settings, Black Mountain in North Carolina, and the saltwater marshes of the Georgia coast. Pastor Dobbins isn’t a likable person. He is controlling and easily agitated. Shelley and her mother work for Pastor Dobbins as maids. Faith Dobbins is the pastor’s daughter. She and Shelley don’t get along too well, and tend to think of each other as snooty in their own ways. But about the same time that different ghosts start showing up to give their cryptic warnings to Shelley, Pastor Dobbins’s behavior starts becoming more erratic and violent. Slowly, his dark past is unraveled and his story is told, which puts Shelley and Faith right in the middle of his path.
The southern gothic storytelling is intoxicating. The only small complaint is that sometimes the timeline gets a bit jumpy and erratic, which might be distracting and confusing for some readers, but everything clears itself up pretty quick each time this happens. Overall, Hite has produced another masterpiece of Appalachian fiction.
*I received this novel from NetGalley as a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review. The Storycatcher will be released September 10, 2013.