Set in the Shirley Jackson-esque small town of Grave’s Pass, a place where pooka horses, ghouls, and ghosts live side by side with ordinary folk, our fearless heroine, Raven McKay, arrives with a battered suitcase of mysteries - will Raven find her parents who have mysteriously disappeared? Who in Dead Town Can she trust? And what is the meaning behind the mystifying black butterfly?
In this startlingly original gothic ghost story, debut children's author Eibhlís Carcione pairs thrills and chills with empathy and emotion with such poetic precision and bold simplicity that I devoured this book in one memorable sitting.
A totally absorbing and thought-provoking tale with echoes of Neil Gaiman and Pádraig Kenny. Eibhlís is certainly a name to watch...
Not to mention the book is magnificently illustrated by Ewa Beniak-Haremska, who's intoxicating artwork adds an entire new level of enchantment and curiosity. Simply exceptional.
WHAT TO READ NEXT
To celebrate the publication of Welcome to Dead Town Raven McKay, I'm thrilled to welcome Eibhlís Carcione to F&F with an exclusive insight behind Ewa Beniak-Haremska's gorgeous artwork.
Ewa Beniak-Haremska is an exceptional artist. Ewa read Welcome to Dead Town Raven McKay and told me she loved it. She said Raven reminded her of herself when she was young. She really connected with the story. We chatted a few times on zoom with Mikka. I knew from what Ewa was saying that she had grasped the story and the characters. Ewa had quite a canvas to cover. She had to illustrate Dead Town, capture its atmosphere and also create the supernatural characters: Callie (the white lady), Bram (the wicked ghoul), a vicious red cap, a werewolf and more. She added her own touches, subtle brushstrokes. The result is very unique, very magical and very gothic.
Ewa has brought Raven and Dead Town to life. She has added a layer of gothic richness to the book.
I love all the illustrations in different ways. I have a few favourites. Raven has just arrived in Grave’s Pass with her suitcase with the sticker of the black butterfly. The expression in her eyes is one of wonder, fear and curiosity. Her hat with the raven feather and her clothes are captured perfectly. The background with the cobbled streets, alleys, the raven on the twisted tree, the old houses and girl is splendidly ominous.
The Welcome to Dead Town mural is stunning. I love the cracks and crevices. the pigeons, the sense of squalor and, of course, the butterfly.
The drawings of the werewolf, the red cap and Bram are truly brilliant. And I can’t leave out the Dead Town parade with the supernatural crowd, the pooka horses and the creepy vibes.
Welcome to Dead Town Raven McKay by Eibhlís Carcione is published by Everything With Words (2023) and available to order from Bookshop UK here.