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Paperback Candles Burning Book

ISBN: 0739479970

ISBN13: 9780739479971

Candles Burning

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Long awaited

I fell in love years ago with Michael McDowell's Blackwater series, and was so sad to hear he had passed away, but what a lovely tribute that Tabitha stepped to finish it, you won't be disappointed, it is a haunting and wonderful read. Thanks.

A healthy dose of the unexpected.

Michael McDowell is best known for his Blackwater horror series: he left the unfinished manuscript for Candles Burning upon his death in 1999 - and Stephen King's wife Tabitha, a novelist in her own right, took up the challenge to finish it. The two powerful talents combine to create a chilling Southern gothic revolving around murder, corruption and a child and mother's exile after a horrible murder. A fine novel of intrigue and murder holds plenty of twists and turns - and a healthy dose of the unexpected. Diane C. Donovan California Bookwatch

Fascinating characters .......Spooky twists and turns!

This is a haunting story with twists and turns that shocked me. Not often do I read a book that has me temporarily closing the book, my eyes wide open in disbelief. But never once did I put the book down! The characters are engaging and after "Candles" I ran not walked to the library to find more books by Tabitha King.

A finely crafted novel

My favorite short story is Michael McDowell's "Halley's Passing," about a serial killer who is so much more than he appears to be. Perhaps better known for his screenplays, McDowell was a masterful author of horror novels in the gothic tradition, including his Blackwater series, which stands collectively as a classic of the genre. He passed away in 1999, leaving behind an unfinished manuscript for CANDLES BURNING, which was to have been his penultimate novel. Tabitha King, wife of Stephen King, is the author of a number of novels as well. The publication of this book occurs as the result of King's relationship with the McDowell family. She was given McDowell's manuscript and asked to complete the work. King is quite up front about what the novel is --- and what it's not. It is not, she tells us, the story that McDowell set out to write. This will disappoint some. What we have here though is a tale infused with southern gothic tradition and strategic strands of horror interwoven into the foundation of its tapestry. It is said that every Southern family of means has a streak of madness that runs deep and long through it; CANDLES BURNING takes that truism and runs. Here, the family of means is the Carroll family, whose lineage intersects with the "no-account" Dakins family when Roberta Ann Carroll marries Joe Cane Dakin. There is a method to her madness; Joe Cane is one of the richest men in 1950s Alabama, the owner of a string of highly successful Ford auto dealerships. It is Dakin's success that indirectly leads to his downfall. Accompanied by his wife and their two children, Calley and Ford, Dakin attends an auto dealers' convention in New Orleans and is murdered in gruesome fashion. The family quickly finds itself bereft and destitute, none more so than Calley, who was her father's favorite even as her mother seems constantly to resent her. After leaving Ford with her own mother, Roberta takes Calley to reside in an enigmatic resort home on Pensacola Beach, one with ties to Calley's past and heritage. King's prose and pacing are first rate; one is transported to a time and place that no longer exist --- the south of the mid-20th century --- while insanity dances in the shadows just out of sight. While CANDLES BURNING deals on the surface with Calley's coming of age, there is more than adolescent turbulence roiling in her heart. The truth about all --- Dakin's death, Calley's birthright --- is revealed in the end, with some help from an unexpected source. But it is King's triptych, as opposed to the final destination, that makes this book worth reading. Ultimately CANDLES BURNING is somewhat reminiscent of Peter Straub's earlier work. The focus is not on horror, or even necessarily the supernatural, though some of the latter is present. The characterization is sharp, and more importantly, when you finish the book you truly will miss Calley --- so much so that you may well read this finely crafted work again and again. --- Reviewed by Joe

Riveting voice tells spooky southern gothic tale

A posthumous collaboration is particularly fitting for this atmospheric, sumptuously written tale of a girl who can speak with the dead. After the death of horror writer Michael McDowell, Maine author (and wife of Stephen King) Tabitha King took up the task of finishing his last manuscript. The result will keep you up late and sweep you into a southern gothic world of family backstabbing, duplicity, and enigmatic spirits. The narrator, Calliope "Calley" Carroll Dakin looks back from the present to open her story at age 7 in 1958 when her beloved father was murdered - tortured and smothered - by two witless women with no apparent motive. Calley opens with the line, "My father died unpleasantly," then explains that this is how her mother used to put it. It gives a pretty concise image of Calley's mother: `My husband died,' she used to say, letting her voice catch before concluding, `unpleasantly.' "Stepping on a wasp barefoot - that's unpleasant. A mouthful of sour milk - that's unpleasant. What happened to Daddy was no mere unpleasance." Joe Cane Dakin was a self-made Alabama man with a passel of white trash relatives. His gorgeous wife, Roberta Ann Carroll Dakin, is a self-absorbed southern belle greedy for his money. She can barely abide her odd, big-eared daughter and delights in depriving her of anything she enjoys, particularly music. But after Joe's murder, Roberta Ann's pampered life changes. Far from being rich, Joe leaves behind nothing but debts. Neither Calley nor her mother quite believe this but helpless Roberta Ann, suspected of hiring the women who killed her husband and hounded by her mother, Mamadee, flees Alabama with the help of an apparently kindly stranger. In an Edsel that refuses to run out of gas Calley and her mother head to an isolated Pensacola Beach inn, which, peculiarly, seems to be a replica of Roberta Ann's grandmother's house, which burned down mysteriously long before Calley was born. The proprietor, Merry Verlow, offers refuge - with conditions. Miz Verlow, as Calley calls her, takes a strong interest in the girl and protects her from her spiteful, cutting mother. But there's nothing warm and fuzzy about Miz Verlow. Apropos of nothing she bids Calley goodnight on their first evening, saying, "Where do little girls get it into their heads that they are supposed to be happy? There are other things that are so much more important for little girls." While the reader - and Calley - know Miz Verlow has her own private motives, Calley grows to love her, even suspects she might love her more than she does her own Mama, whose feet she massages every night. Miz Verlow opens a world of knowledge to her - through books, the well-assorted guests, and her own herb gathering. Calley soaks up knowledge like it was mother's milk. And Miz Verlow turns a blind eye to Calley's eavesdropping, which is how she gets most of her information about the grown-up human world. Strange occurrences, from peculiar found objects to eni
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