Thursday, December 20, 2012

American Ghost (Janis Owens)

I’m going to start with a warning that if you’re looking for a spooky novel, American Ghost, by Janis Owens, is not it.  Many people on other sites have posted that they were under the assumption that this was a ghost story.  However, the type of ghost Owens writes about is not traditional but historical.

American Ghost takes place in the American South, but I wasn’t entirely sure in what time period until after the first few chapters.  Sam Lense is a college student who has come to Hendrix, Florida under false pretenses.  He tells the people he meets that he is researching Native American tribes of the area when really he is investigating an ancestor’s murder at the hands of Henry Kite.  Kite was executed for his crime long ago, along with most of his family, in such a heinous way, that the modern-day people of Hendrix do not wish to speak of it.  Sam meets Jolie Hoyt, who comes from a family that is very well-known for all the wrong reasons.  Did the Hoyt family have something to do with this lynching?  Sam soon realizes that digging into the secrets of Hendrix could be extremely dangerous.

Some readers have compared this book to The Help, but in my eyes, there is no comparison.  To me, the present-day characters in American Ghost were not fully fleshed out enough to the point where I cared enough to continue reading about them.  However, the historical aspect of the novel makes it worth reading and remembering that it wasn’t so long ago that this actually happened in America.