Sask. author blends the supernatural with the realistic in latest novel

Image from Haunted novel by Ruth Chorney.

Shelley A. Leedahl, Sask Book Reviews

Ruth Chorney’s Saskatchewan-set novel, Haunted, transports readers to interesting places—geographical and otherwise—and it’s just the kind of book that makes me wish more Saskatchewan people would read the good literature that’s being produced within their own province.

This engaging story’s set in the rural community of “Deer Creek, population 1242” in the northeastern part of the province, where moose roam, a hoodie is called a “bunnyhug,” and the local Co-op’s where you’ll meet neighbours, friends and the resident hermit/bootlegger.

There are elements of the supernatural in this mostly realistic story, and like that other writer (Stephen King) who also combines realism and the supernatural to great effect, Chorney scores the right balance between making her characters and situations appear credible and also preparing us for the suspension of disbelief that’s required when Marny’s four-year-old sees auras and entities, and her mother, Saige hosts séances.

Marny, a young mother of two, is trying to keep it all together after housing challenges force her and her family to leave their small apartment “in a somewhat sketchy neighbourhood” in Vancouver and move into her deceased grandparents’ rural home on three quarter sections.

Chorney’s well-wrought descriptions root us in the long-abandoned rural property and flesh out the neighbours who are keen to help the family settle, like John in his “Dodge Ram cap,” and Tera, who runs a trail-riding business, and may know more about her husband’s mysterious disappearance than she’s letting on.

Chorney’s wisely chosen to structure the story via both Marny and Tera’s distinct points of view, and I noted that especially near the last third of the book, the author does a fabulous job of leaving cliff-hanger chapter endings: we have to wait to learn how a riveting situation unfolds, as the chapter’s narrators take turns. This author has formidable handles on pacing, plot and characterization. ‘Haunted’ is written by Ruth Chorney and published by 7SpringsBooks

This book is available at your local bookstore or from the Saskatchewan Publishers Group