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Friday, May 16, 2008

Review: Don't Look Back, Agnes

Don't Look Back, Agnes
by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Agnes Michaels is coming home. Home to her childhood town of Fairfield and the house her father lovingly built for her mother. A house surrounded by the woods where Agnes’ two childhood friends and her boyfriend, Tyler, were all murdered twenty summers ago when she was just seventeen. She was the only one who escaped, but not without emotional and physical scars. Agnes knows that the woods and the evil entity that lives in it have been waiting for her all these years but she has no choice but to return to Fairfield and her mother’s house when her mother falls very ill and needs her care. Agnes can no longer avoid her destiny. Because the killings have begun again and she’s the only one who can stop them. And with the help of a new friend and Tyler’s ghost, she’ll defeat the evil and save another child’s life.

Agnes has some major stress going on in her life — her husband's death, no job, her mother's serious illness — so it was no surprise to me that she loathes the idea of moving back to her home town for which she has horrific memories. I found it admirable that, in spite of her fear, she makes the decision to come home to care for her mother. She is racked with guilt for losing contact with her mother over the years, as well as about things from the past, and under the circumstances I thought her feelings are understandable. The poor woman is a mess! I would have a difficult time keeping it together in her situation so she had my sympathy and I was pulling for her to try and make a go of things.

I didn't really get to know Ben very well. He is sort of on the periphery of the drama that is occurring in Agnes' life. At first I thought his character was going to be a pest because Agnes says a couple of times that she doesn't care for cops, but she does admit to liking a man in uniform, and what woman doesn't! Although I didn't have a great sense of him, I did like how he 'tuned-in' to her as well as his ready acceptance of her shocking accounts of paranormal events.

I would have liked to see more complete development of the romance between them. I wasn't sure until pretty far into it if Ben was the love interest, especially with the other elements of the story. I also thought it cowardly when Agnes refuses to help the town during a life-and-death crisis — when she would have been a big help — out of fear. I was hoping she would redeem herself and fight her fear and do the right thing, but she really doesn't; not without coercion.

The story does have a very happy ending and it ties up some of the plot lines very nicely by the end. The promise of romance between Agnes and Ben is sweet, and the paranormal aspects are original. Reading "Don't Look Back, Agnes" is a nice way to spend a lunch hour on a sunny spring day.

Review by Chamomile