The Artifacts: A Flint Hills Story
by Eric Reynolds
(Hadley Rille Books)
The Artifacts is a great name for this book, because much of the mystery and action (and paranormal effects) swirl around historical objects in an old, run down farmhouse and elsewhere in the fictional town of Sycamore Falls, Flint Hills, KS.
Young Kayla, an art blogger with a huge following, bought an old Victorian home in the same town that her ex boyfriend (and still best friend) Kevin settled in. He runs an art studio behind the local historical society’s building downtown. Kayla loves books and history, and is undecided about whether or not to renovate or tear down a rundown farmhouse on her new property.
The previous owner of the property, Brenda, still lives in town. She would not let people on her land, and was secretive. Brenda makes it clear that she thinks the old farmhouse needs to be torn down. But if so, why did Brenda not tear it down herself? Does this have anything to do with the fact that Kayla sees glimpses of the past when she opens certain of the old farmhouse’s books with bookmarks and underlined passages? And what happened to the two young people who disappeared in the area? Readers are shown them entering the old farmhouse right before they disappeared.
I’m not going to give away the ending, but let’s just say the book is sort of Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day, but in the Midwest. And it’s absolutely marvelous.