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Whistling In the Dark [Paperback]

Lesley Kagen
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 1 2007
It was the summer on Vliet Street when we all started locking our doors...

Sally O'Malley made a promise to her daddy before he died. She swore she'd look after her sister, Troo. Keep her safe. But like her Granny always said-actions speak louder than words. Now, during the summer of 1959, the girls' mother is hospitalized, their stepfather has abandoned them for a six pack, and their big sister, Nell, is too busy making out with her boyfriend to notice that Sally and Troo are on the Loose. And so is a murderer and molester.

Highly imaginative Sally is pretty sure of two things. Who the killer is. And that she's next on his list. Now she has no choice but to protect herself and Troo as best she can, relying on her own courage and the kindness of her neighbors.


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Whistling In the Dark + The Kitchen House: A Novel
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The loss of innocence can be as dramatic as the loss of a parent or the discovery that what's perceived to be truth can actually be a big fat lie, as shown in Kagen's compassionate debut, a coming-of-age thriller set in Milwaukee during the summer of 1959. Ten-year-old Sally O'Malley fears that a child predator who has already murdered two girls, Junie Piaskowski and Sara Heinemann, will target her or her little sister, Troo, next. Sally's mom is in the hospital, while her big sister, Nell, is distracted by love and her stepdad, Hall, by the bottle, so who can save her if the killer is, as she suspects, her neighbor, David Rasmussen, a popular cop who has a photo of Junie hanging in his house? Though the mystery elements are sketchy, Kagen sharply depicts the vulnerability of children of any era. Sally, "a girl who wouldn't break a promise even if her life depended on it," makes an enchanting protagonist. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lesley Kagen is an actress, voice-over talent, and restaurateur, as well as the author of two previous national bestselling novels. Whistling in the Dark has been translated into five languages and was a Midwest Choice Honor winner. Land of a Hundred Wonders, an Indie Next pick, was also nominated for a Midwest Choice Award. She lives near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The morning Mother told us she was sick, Troo and me were just laying in the lime summer grass, smelling the bleach comin' off the wash that jitterbugged on the line and getting ready to play that name game with her. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Jan. 4 2008
Format:Paperback
It's 1959, and in ten short years Sally O'Malley has had a very busy life, both real and imagined. Two years ago her daddy died in a car accident and left Sally, her mother, her little sister, Troo, and her older half-sister, Nell. Shortly after her daddy died, Sally and family moved into the city of Milwaukee from their farm. It wasn't long before her mother met Hall and he became her third husband. Now her mother is sick and has to go to the hospital, and nobody knows how long she'll be gone. Nell is too busy with her boyfriend to pay much attention to her younger sisters. Hall is taking his solace in alcohol and other women. Which leaves Sally to take care of Troo. Since she promised Daddy she would look after her, that's exactly what she intends to do.

It's pretty hard to watch, take care of, and try to raise a little girl when you're still one yourself. Especially when you're on the loose for a whole summer and you don't know where your next bath, much less next meal, is going to come from. Add in the rumors of a serial killer who's after children... Between their real problems and Sally's overactive imagination, this summer will be anything but dull. Making it through the summer is only the beginning.

This a book with so many different levels. It's the story of a girl who is forced to take the first step away from childhood. It's the story of a damaged family. It's the story of women who don't know their own strength. It's a story of the underlying terror of a murderer, and at the same time a story of freedom. It's a story of a simpler time. Underneath all of that, it is the story of a city.

The characters in this novel are strong and well-written. The plot is interesting, and takes more than a few surprising twists and turns.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Whistling In The Dark Feb. 16 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good reading with a twist at the end. I enjoyed reading this book from a child,s viewpoint and their quirky way of looking at life.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book June 3 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books I have ever read. It took me back to my childhood when summers were all about playing and using your imagination. I fell in love with Troo and Sally. They are amazing little girls. I highly recommend this book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nope! Sept. 9 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had read the reviews of this novel and in my mind I was comparing it to To Kill A Mockingbird - little girl narrating and learning about life. Couldn't even get interested in it until the last third. Can't honestly say why I kept reading until then. If the first part of the book had had the same momentum as the last third it would have received a much higher rating but I can't honestly recommend this novel to anyone.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read Aug. 15 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. Very well written and a pleasure to read. I passed it on to my daughter and she enjoyed it immensely.
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