Reviews for Skull in Shadows Lane

Booklist Reviews 2012 May #1
Set in the English village of Coney Cley in the late 1940s, Swindells' historical thriller is not just a mystery but a slice-of-life "after the war" drama as well. Siblings Jinty and Josh bemoan their humdrum life, where the effects of the war are still felt--food, fuel, and supplies are rationed--but the exciting bits are over. The only possible source of adventure is the deserted home on Shadows Lane, rumored to be haunted. There they see evidence of a skeletal figure they nickname Boney, but as it turns out, Boney is not a ghost: he is a liberated POW, ravaged by his time in a Polish concentration camp. Swindells effectively creates several tense moments for Boney, including a dangerous snowstorm and a disguised Nazi war criminal, but the sympathetic villagers band together to save him. The British slang-- gurn, macs and wellies, dekko--and frequent head-hopping POVs might puzzle readers, but the story is a gentle reminder to treat war survivors (or any survivors of trauma) with compassion. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.