It was over 5 years ago that I first encountered Linda M Frank. Her writing debut was a YA thriller The Madonna Ghost. It is the same same Madonna Ghost that is mentioned in this title. Confused yet? Don’t be, all will be explained in good time.

For those people that want to read a review of The Madonna Ghost, you can find it here.

To explain, I must tell a story, one day, some 15 years ago I sat bold upright in bed at 4am and declared “That’s it, I am going to be a book reviewer”, my wife responded with “That’s nice now go back to sleep”. It was later, in the cold light of day that I realized why becoming a reviewer was my calling. I loved books, but even the best books left me with questions. My theory was, become a well known reviewer and ‘POOF’ you have access to the author, and so you can ask those questions about the plot that are loose ends.

In many ways Making A Mystery With Annie Tlllery was the primer I needed when I started out.

Linda spent many years as a teacher, during that time she used her story telling skills to impart wisdom to her young charges. Make no mistake, the art of story telling is a rare gift. In some cultures the story teller is as important as the Shaman.

I have never read a book that didn’t leave me with questions. I am the 60 year old asking grade 1 questions.

What is delightful about this book is that Linda presents a chapter of the novel and then follows it up with a discussion about the mechanics behind that portion of the novel. It was a wise man that made the observation ‘write about people, places, and subjects that you know’.

Linda uses three main characters Annie Tillery, her boyfriend Tyler Egan (Ty), and her aunt Jill. The Madonna Ghost was Linda Franks first book, so the reader knew nothing about about the characters starting the book. They are developed quickly and in depth.

While Ty and aunt Jill essentially have chapters dedicated to introducing them, Annie is the constant thread that joins them all together. By the end of chapter three, we know the protagonists as well as our friends in real life.

The Madonna Ghost is set on Fire Island a New York barrier island. When I first read the book I gave little thought to the choice of location. Linda Frank explains the choice of location and why it was the perfect backdrop, smuggling, shipwrecks and pirates. What better place for there to be a supernatural presence?

YA is a tough genre, tough to write, and a very tough crowd to please. Having worked with several YA authors, I can make some observations, always keep the story line moving along, but provide plenty of meals and snacks. The genre does love its food!

In my opinion this book would make a fabulous text for a writers workshop or community college class.

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