Rezension zu "One by One (Fiction Without Frontiers) (English Edition)" von D.W. Gillespie
After reading the author's previous book 'Toy Chief' I had him on my radar and was thrilled to see a new title was out, and found that I like 'One by One' even better.
The story is told from the POV of young girl Alice, who moves with her family into a decrepit house that "they bought at a steal", as her father doesn't tire to tell them. However, the other family members can't share his enthusiasm over this slightly creepy, labyrinthine building. Soon, Alice notices odd things to happen after she discovers a child's drawing on the floor wall: a family of stick figures, complete with pet Alice's father grows an aggressive streak Alice never would have thought this usually easy-going man to be capable of. Even her mother is more irritated than usual. Then, a diary appears in Alice's room which belonged to a girl that previously lived in the house, telling her tragic story. Also, Alice thinks she glimpsed a strange person lurking about the house.
But things really start to get scary when the drawn pet on the wall is crossed out with a thick black X and the family's cat is found dead soon after. While her parents believe Alice or her sulking brother might be behind that cruel joke and the cat simply drowned by accident, Alice is sure something unnatural, maybe even supernatural, is haunting their new home. From there on, events come thick and fast. Only Alice recognizes what is behind all this, and it is up to her to face whatever is threatening to destroy her family.
Compared to 'Toy Thief', I found that the plot of 'One by One' appears more of a piece, leading you down a spiralling path into the depth of insanity. For a long time you are not sure what causes the mysterious events. Every now and then, the path changes directions, washing overboard previously nurtured suspicions, only to come up with a new possibility after the next turn. Alice was a believable and likeable character. It was impressive to see how she outgrew her old shy, pensive self and became the strong and determined fighter it took to stand up for her family.
The author put a lot of thought into the details, which fit together like puzzle pieces, but missing the original pattern, so that only at the end, when everything is put together neatly, you are able to recognize the scary overall picture.
(Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of the book, all opinions are my own)