Malice in a Very Small Town

A Wiki Danser Novel

Fiction - Suspense
180 Pages
Reviewed on 03/12/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite

Malice in a Very Small Town: A Wiki Danser novel by Greg Jolley is a finely written story that is as disturbing as it is suspenseful. Wiki Danser believed that the future would be bright and sunny when she moved into a new home with her daughter. But there is something disturbing — the next door neighbor and the nauseating smell emanating from her property. Determined to find out what is happening, she alerts the authorities, who dismiss her claims offhandedly. But then children go missing from the neighborhood and Wiki can’t bear the thought that her daughter might disappear as well. She takes matters into her own hands, but can she unravel the mystery and save her daughter from becoming the next victim?

The only thing that didn’t have me spellbound about this novel is the title. It didn’t catch my attention, but the story itself is a great read and Greg Jolley has an impeccable way of bringing readers into the world of his characters, weaving elements of suspense into the story and building tension in readers. The story itself is gripping and the prose leaves a singular signature on the writing, placing the author up there with some of the respected names in the genre. The characters in Malice in a Very Small Town: A Wiki Danser novel are well-crafted and while the story explores an unusual phenomenon, the realism is powerful and readers can feel the fear and anxiety of the protagonist. This is a great story, plotted to keep the reader turning from one gripping page to the next.

Jack Magnus

Malice in a Very Small Town: A Wiki Danser Novel is a novel of suspense written by Greg Jolley. While this is not the first book in Jolley’s Danser series, the author gives enough background information for it to be enjoyed as a standalone novel. Sara and Wiki had found a suitable temporary rental for themselves and their child in the small town of Dent. The house commanded gorgeous views of Lake Dent with floor-to-ceiling windows and an open ground-floor space designed for entertaining. While the movers were bringing in the family’s furniture and possessions, Sarah wondered again at the one neighbor who seemed to be definitely off-kilter. She had met Mrs. Weap while considering the rental and had not been overly impressed by her, but now the woman was burning something that smelled awful and gave off black and oily smoke from the burn pile she was tending. Sara couldn’t help but suppress a bit of revulsion, and she decided to rename the Weap family, as the rental agent had identified them, as the Creep family. Dent was not the most diverse or tolerant town for the young lesbian couple and their ebullient four-year-old to live in, but all too soon, they begin to fear for their child’s and their own safety.

Greg Jolley’s novel of suspense, Malice in a Very Small Town: A Wiki Danser Novel, is a fast-paced and fascinating story that had me intrigued and ready to read more of the author’s Danser stories. Wiki and Sara are marvelous, well-defined characters and their daughter, the irrepressible Cry Baby, aka Seabee, is a veritable force of nature. Mrs. Creep is suitably awful and terrifying in a way that fits the late autumn setting for this book quite well. I enjoyed seeing how the young family managed to find kindred spirits in Maur, the shopkeeper, and some of the other residents of Dent, despite the insular nature of the town. Jolley’s plot is taut and thrilling, and his writing is smooth and fluid, making reading this book a pleasure indeed. Malice in a Very Small Town: A Wiki Danser Novel is most highly recommended.

Neil A White

Malice in a Very Small Town: A Wiki Danser Novel by Greg Jolley features another escapade of the eclectic Danser family: Wiki, her partner Sara, their child Seabee, and an orphaned beaver that’s found a home in their bathtub. The family moves into their new home by the lake in the small town of Dent, and next door to an oddball lady that has a fascination with foul-smelling backyard fires. Did I mention that her husband has gone missing? And some of their other neighbors aren’t a barrel of laughs either. When Wiki believes two children have disappeared, she tries to raise the alarm with the local police, but to no avail. Soon after a small private airplane crashes, rifle shots ring out in the night, and the oddball neighbor disappears into the forest. And just when all appears to be returning to normal, a final shoot-out materializes that places everyone in danger.

Greg Jolley is back with Malice in a Very Small Town, his latest quirky, suspense-filled novella. I’ve been a fan of his free-flowing, whimsical prose since reading Where’s Karen, and his latest effort follows along in that tradition. Filled with a wonderfully strange cast of characters - Jolley’s trademark – I found Malice in a Very Small Town to be a taut, off-beat thriller. However, much like his earlier novel I reviewed, I felt the ending was rushed and fell a little flat after building to a fine crescendo. There is no doubting Greg Jolley has an immense talent, and although his writing style and pacing choices may not be for every reader, I highly recommend spending some quality time with his characters.

Cheryl Hammond

This is the first novel I have read by Greg Jolley. At first I found it a little hard to get into but with his unique cast of characters and plots, I could not put the book down. It was an awesome read and am really looking forward to reading his next novel that comes out later this year.