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Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite
An orphaned girl in a dying small town is an unlikely protagonist, but that is exactly what you find in Shadow Menagerie by Michael Ayoob. Regina Gundy is a misfit and outcast in her middle school class and a puzzle to her adopted father. When you are found abandoned in a fish tank still filled with stones and plastic plants, there doesn’t seem to be any other option. Keeping to herself with her old dog Bullet, Reggie begins to experience a strange melody that draws her to discover its origins. Little does she know that this journey will lead her to the early days of the town when industry was king and the mill owner was a tyrant responsible for the deaths of many young girls and other factory workers. Added to that, the ‘Good Old Boys’ network that successfully turns a blind eye to crime causes the death of a teenager who joins with the other lost souls looking for revenge. Reggie is bound to release them from their earthly bonds, but who in the ‘real world’ will ever begin to understand her actions?
Eerie and heart breaking at the same time, Shadow Menagerie by Michael Ayoob creates an incredible horror story out of everyday events. The plight of the town is inextricably tied to the evil that permeated the environment, but is there really such a thing as justice under the circumstances? A variety of characters and an intriguing look at ‘history’ bring this story to life and really make you think about the impact our lives and actions have on others. This is a gripping story with a surprise ending that will leave you questioning reality for quite a while to come. The ending leaves you with a question about evil and insanity and if there is a difference in some cases or if those afflicted are merely pawns.