Reviewed by: Pete Barber
Approximate word count: 70,000-75,000 words
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M. A. Demers is a freelance writer, editor, and fine art photographer based near Vancouver, British Columbia. Baby Jane is her first novel.
Clair Dawson buys a fixer-upper home. While knocking down a closet wall, she discovers the remains of a baby. The story revolves around the mystery of who the baby is and how she got there.
It was hard for me to pin this book down. In the opening chapters the voice was distinctly literary: full of colorful imagery and rich, complex sentences. Then the tone switched into horror as Claire was physically buffeted by demons. Enter the handsome police inspector (Dylan) and we moved into the realm of cozy mystery. Claire and Dylan experience love at first sight and the story becomes more about their romance than about the baby. Then we’re introduced to the inspector’s grandmother and the story takes on a paranormal vein where we are plunged into parallel worlds where animal avatars are substituted for the main characters in the story.
While there’s nothing wrong with variety, I think the mixed messages weakened the story. The writing was strongest, for me, in the opening (it almost seemed as if another hand had written this) and during the paranormal scenes. On reflection, perhaps this was because these scenes came solidly from a single point of view. Whereas in the other phases of the book, there was a lot of head-hopping going on that often pulled me out of the tale, and for me, at least, weakened what is a good story albeit with a somewhat implausible ending.
A few grammar errors, although not enough to become distracting.
Rating: *** Three stars