A Whisper of Leaves: (A Paranormal Novella)
When ESL teacher Riko finds an old journal buried in the forests beneath Mt Fuji, a malevolent, untraceable force begins to threaten her at every turn.
But is it all in her head?
The more she studies the journal for answers, the more questions she uncovers. Worse, no-one takes her fears seriously and her best lead appears to be a belligerent old man, whose only care in the world is raking leaves deep in the forest.
With her grip on reality shaken and friendships strained to breaking point, Riko has to discover the truth about the journal in order to put ghosts of the past to rest, as strange events turn deadly.
The writing is superb and the mood well set. I love that it manages to scare without resorting to cheap tricks or gore and the traces of mysticism and Japanese flavor throughout (ah, those green tea flavored kitkats). As someone who lived in Japan for a few years, it felt very authentic to me.
I love that this book doesn't dance around the paranormal and dives right into the belief systems involved without skepticism or irony. My only complaint is at the end I still had some small questions about the backstory. There were certain images and symbolism that I kept expecting someone to explain to me (why are moths so important? Why does the heroine keep throwing up?) but which remained for the most part unexplained. I'm guessing these are part of the mythology that I just am not aware of and if I read a few books on Shintoism or Japanese Ghost stories I'd get it, but I didn't. However, the story was overall satisfying.
On an unrelated note: Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon is free this weekend (until the 24th, so a little past this weekend). Click the link below to pick up a copy.
Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon