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Break the bodies, haunt the bones
2019
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Summary
"[T]his novel is extraordinary . . . It is Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, mixed with H. G. Wells's The Island of Doctor Moreau, set in the creepiest screwed-up town since 'Salem's Lot . . . [A] major achievement." -- Adam-Troy Castro, Sci Fi magazine

Swine Hill was full of the dead. Their ghosts were thickest near the abandoned downtown, where so many of the town's hopes had died generation by generation. They lingered in the places that mattered to them, and people avoided those streets, locked those doors, stopped going into those rooms . . . They could hurt you. Worse, they could change you.

Jane is haunted. Since she was a child, she has carried a ghost girl that feeds on the secrets and fears of everyone around her, whispering to Jane what they are thinking and feeling, even when she doesn't want to know. Henry, Jane's brother, is ridden by a genius ghost that forces him to build strange and dangerous machines. Their mother is possessed by a lonely spirit that burns anyone she touches. In Swine Hill, a place of defeat and depletion, there are more dead than living.

When new arrivals begin scoring precious jobs at the last factory in town, both the living and the dead are furious. This insult on the end of a long economic decline sparks a conflagration. Buffeted by rage on all sides, Jane must find a way to save her haunted family and escape the town before it kills them.
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Booklist Review
Swine Hill's economy has long ground to a halt, its residents left to settle for grim work at the town's meat-packing plant. But jobs aren't their only concern: they must also contend with the restless ghosts who possess them, transforming them into conduits for heat or cold. The spirits can also confer psychic abilities or inspire frenzied invention, the latter resulting in hybrid creatures who show up and start taking jobs with the town's most lucrative employer. Hicks (Electricity & Other Dreams, 2013) stacks this novel with bizarre scenarios, episodes of violence, and outlandish entities. Daring readers with a hunger for the arcane and the New Weird style of writers like China Miéville will enjoy this singularly strange novel.--Craig Lefteroff Copyright 2019 Booklist
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