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Now Entering Addamsville: 11/23/19
Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia is set in a small former mining town in Indiana. Since the mine closed, and since the Firestarter murders, the town has retooled itself as a paranormal tourist destination. Zora Novak though knows the dark truth and will do whatever it takes to keep her town safe.
Zora's hard work, though, is threatened by the arrival of the Dead Men Walking ghost hunting show, and by the return of her conman father from prison. While he's been gone, she's been living at home with her sister, Stella.
Shortly after the TV crew arrives a new round of Firestarter murders begin. They are unnatural in their ferocity. Everything either burns or melts with no traceable sign of accelerant or other fuel source.
In the last round of murders, Zora was the chief suspect. She's falling under suspicion again and knows she has to solve the mystery both to clear her name and to save the town.
The framing of the mystery and its solution is done within the road narrative spectrum. Early on in my project I described how there are two types of travellers — those who go someplace and those that come someplace. The more typical version is the going someplace plot where the narrator is the traveler and is on the road with a destination and a route. The secondary type is where the narrator is a resident of a town that is visited by a traveler whose presence ends up changing the town dynamic.
So in Now Entering Addamsville, the traveler is the television crew, led by a man named Tad. As they are celebrities, they are privileged travelers (00). They are the typical example of this type of traveler — visitors who go to small towns for for small town life tourism. Their presence is often disruptive to the residents and can be destructive or worse — as is the case here.
But the destination within Addamsville isn't the town itself; it's the source of the hauntings for use in an upcoming television episode. The literal destinations are various infamous haunted spots throughout the town. Metaphorically, the destination is uhoria (CC) as ghosts are a manifestation of previous times superimposed on the present.
The route taken is the cornfield (FF). There are the fields surrounding the town. There are fields that Zora sends people through to slow them down. There are other fields that the Firestarters cross while on their hunt.
All together Now Entering Addamsville is the tale of a town visited by privileged travelers in search of uhoria by way of the cornfield.
Reviews for this novel seem to hinge on whether or not the reader had read any of the author's contemporary novels. I have not. I came to this book liking the title — being reminded of Chas Addams and expecting some gothic, paranormal hijinks. For me, the book delivered.