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Publisher's Summary

"In her astonishing thriller, Sarah Sparrow has joined the ranks of Shirley Jackson and Stephen King. A warning: there is no safe place to read this book." (David Cronenberg)

Terrifying, thoroughly original and hauntingly written, A Guide for Murdered Children is a psychological thriller - and otherworldly surprise. 

We've heard it said that there is no justice in this world. But what if there really was? What if the souls of murdered children were able to briefly return, inhabit adult bodies, and wreak revenge on the monstrous killers who stole their lives?

Such is the unthinkable mystery confronting ex-NYPD detective Willow Wylde, fresh out of rehab and finally able to find a job running a Cold Case squad in suburban Detroit. When the two rookie cops assigned to him take an obsessive interest in a decades-old disappearance of a brother and sister, Willow begins to suspect something out of the ordinary is afoot. And when he uncovers a series of church basement AA-type meetings made up of the slain innocents, a new way of looking at life, death, murder - and missed opportunities - is revealed to him.

Mystical, harrowing, and powerfully moving, A Guide for Murdered Children is a genre-busting, mind-bending twist on the fine line between the ordinary...and the unfathomable.

©2018 Sarah Sparrow (P)2018 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about A Guide for Murdered Children

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • D.
  • 01-29-19

Gets less confusing if you stick with it.

The premise of this book was horrible and triumphant. As a mom, the idea of murdered children is sacrosanct, but the idea of retribution quite appealing. The one change I'd have made is that a parent gets that vengeance. In my experience children are more merciful than parents would be. Anyway, despite reading the description before my purchase, I found the first several hours very confusing. Don't be daunted- more will be revealed.

2 people found this helpful

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Slow start

Overall it got better but slow start and was hard to understand concept at first

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A change from my usual

This books was nothing much like anything I usually read. It took me a couple chapters to grasp the beginnings of what was happening and who was who. But the well developed storyline and characters worth rooting for definitely pulled me in before too long. Narrator was the truly perfect choice for Willow.... but less than stellar for all the other voices. But his gravelly voice was truly such a spot on choice for the main character that the rest can be overlooked.

My one irritation was when the author unnecessarily chose to use the insult of “fag” at one point. It was not only a poor, gross choice of word in life in general, it was off base of what Willow likely would have thought.

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Turned Off Very Fast

I didn't get very far with this and was disappointed by what I heard. I guess I was expecting something along the lines of Fred, the Vampire Accountant-- entertaining writing, fun characters, supernatural crime fiction. What I got instead was a first chapter with a wholly unlikable protagonist and people around him making jokes about their genitals, and a second chapter with another POV chapter in a room full of people making jokes and commenting on their female genitalia. It was a bit much. I'm sure the story itself gets interesting, but I don't think I can stand twelve whole hours of male and female genitalia jokes. I'm a bit surprised that a woman wrote this. It sounds more like the sort of crudeness a man would have written. It's discouraging to find so many interesting sounding books that are so dependent on phallic humor right out the gate.

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500+ books, first review...

Well written and narrated, great mystery and the back story was captivating, but while there are bad bad peoples, there is good people and an amazing flawed hero that touched me enough to write my first review, listen to this book, and enjoy!

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Stick with it and you’ll love it!

It was a little slow on the pick up but if you stick with it you won’t be sorry!! The story is beautifully heartbreakingly enjoyable.

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Meaning

There is a power to this book, even though it is often a challenging read. Challenging in that the subject matter treads on untouchable territory in our times of surface-level relationships, but these issues are very real for too many and Sparrow takes them all head on. It’s unfortunate Sparrow goes by a pseudonym because I would love to talk to him/her, but I understand — a pseudonym for this book is clear evidence of the taboo subject matter.

I found meaning in the way the story gives value to these fallen children and their families, and provides a way for escape and redemption. Any person or family affected by abuse of any kind — and there are many in this wicked world — will find solace in this book, and will hopefully grow a little closer to their own point of “balance.”

As far as stories go, the mystery, suspense, and fantasy woven with very modern pop culture references - as in, Stranger Things - takes you there. And the dialogue and narration make me want to meet Honeychild, hang with Willow, and have a long talk with Elaine.

The narrator was masterful.

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Unusual and good!

I've never read a book like this but the premise intrigued me. I ignored a lot of it -- the train, milk and cookies, people with more than one name for instance. murdered children returning to settle the score with the men who killed them. An intelligent debate in very interesting form.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-05-18

A most unusual story

I enjoyed to performance of Keith Szarabajka, he is required to speak like a wide variety of characters and it aided the story.

The story itself begins and it can be hard to start as the premise is most unusual. Once you get into the story a bit these things make sense. Porters, landlords and trains all become normal in the world of Sarah Sparrow.