Seventeen year old Chessie dreams about the old farmhouse every night. She learned to keep her mouth shut about her dream house when she was young; it turns out that telling people you have a recurring dream about a house where eight people were murdered can land you in a psychiatrist’s office.
Chessie is spending the summer with her grandparents in Villisca, Iowa. They live directly across from the Axe Murder House, the farmhouse in Chessie’s dreams.
Villisca is known for murder. But other than that, it’s a cute town.
The 1912 murders remain unsolved and haunt this small community. The townspeople are also on edge because some young girls have recently been reported missing. Soon after Chessie arrives in town she hears someone calling her name and asking for help, which wouldn’t be as scary if she wasn’t alone in her bedroom at the time.
During the summer Chessie gets to know David, who’s cute but has a secret, and Mateo, a wannabe Ghostbuster. Chessie hopes they will be able to help her discover out what her connection is to the farmhouse and whether there’s any connection between the 1912 murders and the girls that are currently missing.
“People are afraid of the devil when they really should be afraid of each other.”
I got into this book straight away and enjoyed trying to figure out what Chessie’s connection to the Axe Murder House was and the secret David was hiding. If I were Chessie I would have gone straight to the library to check out what the historical records could tell me about the 1912 murders but that could have taken some of the fun out of this read.
After the first round of reveals I was able to figure out where the book was heading, so wasn’t surprised by any of the subsequent reveals. While I can find predictable elements annoying in some books I didn’t have a problem with them here as it meant what I’d hoped would happen did.
I would have liked to have gotten to know Chessie’s grandparents more but was satisfied with learning the backstories of other characters. There wasn’t as much banter as I’m used to in books that have a romantic component but, given the characters are dealing with unsolved murders from the past and missing children, it wouldn’t have been overly appropriate.
Since it happens so infrequently in books, I’m always thrilled when book characters actually use the bathroom, so this book won realism points from me each time Chessie took a bathroom break.
I wasn’t that keen on how the final showdown was set up. Surely if there’s a guy standing in the middle of the road and their car is parked on the shoulder, you could drive around them or through them. They had a gun so to make the characters stop the car so the subsequent confrontation could happen didn’t work for me. How was David able to drive anyway since he’d just woken up from being drugged?
Thank you to NetGalley and Entangled Teen, an imprint of Entangled Publishing, LLC, for the opportunity to read this book. I’m interested in reading more books by this author.
Once Upon a Blurb
All her life, seventeen-year-old Chessie has had recurring dreams about a little white farmhouse. Quaint? Not quite. The house is the site of the unsolved murders of Villisca, Iowa, where eight people were slaughtered in 1912. With her parents on the verge of divorce, Chessie is stuck spending the summer with her grandparents in Villisca – right across the street from the axe murder house.
She’s soon hearing voices calling out for help and begins unraveling a link between herself and the town’s bloody history. And when she falls for a cute boy harboring a big secret, the pieces fall into place as she at last discovers the truth of Villisca’s gruesome past …