Lost and Found - Ruby Jean Jensen

(No Series)

The dreams had been coming with increasing frequency. The ground splitting open…the head of an infant emerging…its eyes wide open…it’s mouth filled with pointed, needle-sharp teeth…Magret would wake screaming to find herself safe in bed with her husband beside her. It had, after all, been only a dream. And dreams could never hurt you.

Then Magret’s daughter Sheena came home telling stories about the little girl in the forest. A strange little girl with funny sharp teeth. Magret put it down to Sheena’s overactive imagination. Until the killings began. Killings that were seemingly random. Only Magret knew they were not random at all. In fact they made a certain terrifying sense. If only she could bare to face it….

I don’t generally place the back cover blurbs of books on reviews anymore. With Lost and Found, though, I could never summarize the plot better than that. Wow. When I read the back of this I had to read it right away (The Jensen fandom helped a bit too). I guess I just love little kids with needle-sharp teeth; Jensen seems to focus a lot on evil children anyway, which is always effective in book or movie form. Sometimes Jensen veers on the side of cheesiness with a few of her books (Chain Letter, Pendulum), but here she tells a truly complex tale with genuinely adult, serious themes.

When reading the book, the plot is confusing and you’re never sure where it’s leading. It begins with an ominous nightmare and action from the start, never slowing down in the center, rolling quickly toward a disturbing climax. I won’t give away what the hidden themes of the book are, but the social commentary is a heavy one.

Characters are rich and intriguing. The mother, Magret, a central character, is a mixture of sanity and insanity, purity and selfishness, avoidance and privacy. Each family member serves their purpose, and I cared what happened to each ­ their personalities complement both each other and the circumstances surrounding the book. As in many stories, there’s a detective here ­ with a dog, seems cliché? ­ but he’s a favorite, likeable and strong. The ending is of course bleak, as with many of Jensen’s books, and it left a dry feeling in my mouth that was a bit reminiscent of Celia. Not many happy endings here.

Violence is brutal, the body count lengthy, and the little mystery involved helps keep this book going. It’s not really needed to say the atmosphere is a bleak one, and as usual, Jensen’s style is fierce and a delight to read, complementing the horror theme. This is true horror, yet gothic as well, while leaving a firm impression on the readers mind when its said and done.

What really makes this book stand out is the creepiness factor. Yes, it’s eerie, chilling, frightening, whatever label you’d like to slap on it. For a change it’s a story that gets in your head and makes the hairs on the back of the neck stand up.

Many scenes focus on suspense and end horribly, all the while keeping the mystery aspect strong and alive. Brrrr. Ruby Jean Jensen is definitely an underrated horror author ­ she’s written dozens of books, many better than others, yet is sorely unnoticed. This book, however, could never be unnoticed, as it not only keeps the reader entertained and addicted, but it delivers the horror full dose.

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http://thepaperbackstash.blogspot.com/2007/06/celia-by-ruby-jean-jensen.html http://thepaperbackstash.blogspot.com/2007/06/chain-letter-by-ruby-jean-jensen.html http://thepaperbackstash.blogspot.com/2007/06/pendulum-ruby-jean-jensen.html http://thepaperbackstash.blogspot.com/2007/06/funhouse-by-dean-koontz.html http://thepaperbackstash.blogspot.com/2007/06/hidden-by-sarah-pinborough.html