The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson (forthcoming in February 2013*)
My upstairs neighbors have not been murdered, and their corpses are not moldering above me as I sleep. I just thought you'd like to know that. I didn't have any real reason to believe they'd been murdered. When I came home on Christmas from visiting my family to find their car our front, I thought nothing of it. And when they didn't wake me up (poor insulation and hardwood floors) the next day, or the day after that, murder was NOT the first thing I thought about. I was sure that they'd gone to visit family. There was a perfectly logical reason their car was out front. They'd gotten a ride, or taken a taxi to the airport and flown somewhere. They were most certainly NOT dead. Their bodily juices would NOT be seeping through the uninsulated floors and drip on my head as I slept. Their ghosts would NOT haunt me, begging my help for justice. And when my neighbors returned on New Year's Day and woke me up far too early in the morning, I did not console myself with the fact that they were alive and well.
You may wonder why I'm telling you this story. You may wonder if my imagination is a tad too overactive. Let me assure you. I am perfectly sane. But I have just finished Maureen Johnson's second Shades of London book, The Madness Underneath, and it may have given me a few. . . ideas about ghosts and murders. The book opens with a wallop -- the vicious murder of a publican bludgeoned to death with a hammer. Then we catch up with Rory a few weeks after the action of The Name of the Star. Rory is with her parents, recovering from a horrific attack by the Ripper Killer, an attack that left her with more than scars. Though no one knows why, Rory has developed some startling new abilities.
I'm not going to say any more about the plot because I don't want to spoil anything, but let's just say that the opening scene isn't the only wallop Johnson plants on her readers and that when you've finished the book, I dare you to come back and tease me for letting my imagination get the better of me. I double dare you. I triple dog dare you. Because you won't be laughing for long.
And if I may add: OMG THE ENDING! YOU CAN'T SEE IT, BUT I AM TOTES FLAILING MY ARMS AROUND LIKE A MUPPET! AND SHAKING MY FISTS AT THE SKY, CURSING MAUREEN'S NAMES TO THE VERY HEAVENS!
*copy courtesy of NetGalley.