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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Book Review: Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen

Please See Us
by Caitlin Mullen
March 3, 2020
Publisher: Gallery Books

ISBN: 9781982127480
Summer has come to Atlantic City but the boardwalk is empty of tourists, the casino lights have dimmed, and two Jane Does are laid out in the marshland behind the Sunset Motel, just west of town. Only one person even knows they’re there.

Meanwhile, Clara, a young boardwalk psychic, struggles to attract clients for the tarot readings that pay her rent. When she begins to experience very real and disturbing visions, she suspects they could be related to the recent cases of women gone missing in town. When Clara meets Lily, an ex-Soho art gallery girl who is working at a desolate casino spa and reeling from a personal tragedy, she thinks Lily may be able to help her. But Lily has her own demons to face. If they can put the pieces together in time, they may save another lost girl—so long as their efforts don’t attract perilous attention first. Can they break the ill-fated cycle, or will they join the other victims?

Women have been disappearing and a teenage psychic begins having real, scary visions of the women. There is a serial killer in the Jersey boardwalk area. Clara meets Lily, who just got a job at a spa, and the girl feels she can help her. But Lily is trying to battle her own demons from her past in New York. Not only is the story told in their points of view, but through some of the murder victims too. The killer is an icy enigma, at home in the decaying environs, who preys on the desperate and meting out his own twisted justice.

Nail-biting, haunting suspense knee-deep in horror set in a vacation spot once revered for its casinos, but now is dying, due to the economic downturn. Gritty and realistic, there are no saints or heroes. The atmosphere is bleak, but it ends on a hopeful note, although not all the ends are tied up in a neat manner.

I gave Please See Us 5 sheep

Reviewed by Pamela K. Kinney

About the Author:
Caitlin Mullen earned a BA in English and Creative Writing from Colgate University, an MA in English from NYU, and an MFA in fiction from Stony Brook University. While at Stony Brook she taught undergraduate creative writing, served as an editor and contributing writer for The Southampton Review, and worked as a bookseller at WORD in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. She has been awarded residencies from the Saltonstall Foundation and the Vermont Studio Center. She grew up in upstate New York and the Jersey Shore and currently lives in Brooklyn.

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