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Book Review: Haunt Me Still by Jennifer Lee Carrell

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Shakespeare expert and globe-trotting theater director Kate Stanley, first introduced by Carrell in Interred with Their Bones, finds herself wrapped up in yet another Shakespearean murder mystery. In Carrell's sophomore outing with her heroine, Kate is asked by a reclusive actress to help stage Macbeth–the actress' best-known role. But as almost anyone knows, "the Scottish play" is traditionally dogged by tragedy, and Kate and her crew get it in spades, most particularly via ritual murder and black magic.

Like in Interred with Their Bones, Kate ends up on the hunt for a rare Shakespearean manuscript and that hunt takes her from Scotland to London to New York and back again. The two books are very Dan Brown in mode, which is to say that the protagonist and a sidekick travel a lot, find clues, crack codes, and pile up bodies until finding the prize results in an ultimate showdown. Dan Brown does it with symbols and Carrell does it with Shakespeare, but it's the same story in the end. Kate Stanely is a female Robert Langdon.

Haunt Me Still is, if nothing else, a quick read–despite all the Shakespeare references. And Macbeth makes a somewhat more interesting springboard than Cardenio did in Interred with Their Bones, which had something of a more convoluted back story weighing it down. Haunt Me Still uses the spookiness of Macbeth and ancient Scotland to draw one into the black spaces that make up the plot. Like a soap opera in print, it pulls the reader in, and it is only when closing the book that it shows itself to be utterly ridiculous. A guilty pleasure.

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