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Christine Benedict

Discover a new mystery thriller full of drama & tension, & vividly real characters, a book you won’t want to put down, by one of America’s leading fiction writers, Christine Benedict.  Her award-winning novel, Anonymous, was inspired by her own 100-yr-old farmhouse where the townsfolk still say it’s haunted. Letters from the man who stalked her are included in the novel. He remains anonymous. 


AUTHOR: Christine Benedict

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Christine studied creative writing at Baldwin Wallace University and Cleveland State University. Her short stories have been finalists for Perigee Publication for the Arts and The Fish Short Story Prize. Her Novel Anonymous is1st runner up in the 2015 Eric Hoffer Award, a finalist for the 2015 First Horizon Award, and a Finalist for the 2015 Indie Book Awards.


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Debra Hamilton confronts the fear of inheriting mental illness when her husband moves her into a hundred-year-old farmhouse on fifty-three acres of blacklisted real estate property. Floorboards creak when she’s alone. Objects appear and disappear. Neighbors insinuate the house is haunted but memories of her mother's schizophrenia make her wonder. Julie, a neighbor who befriends Debra, faces her own fears when a stalker starts sending perverted anonymous letters that cause a rift in Julie’s unstable marriage. Their plots merge as their friendship grows to create a rich and satisfying story.


Rola Ghobashy

Anonymous, written by Christine Benedict in third person point of view, is a mystery thriller about a young woman named Debra who faces the fear of inheriting schizophrenia, a mental illness, from her mother after moving into a presumably haunted hundred year old house. At the same time, Debra's new neighbor, Julie, has been receiving letters from an anonymous stalker which causes problems for her small family. Along with their friendship, both their troubles grow and intertwine causing them to fear for their lives. Anonymous was one of the few books I read for hours without realizing just how much time had passed by. I would literally just sit down and read page after page until I just have to stop, take a deep breath, and carry on. Even if there wasn't a lot of action going on, just reading the characters' thoughts and reactions was very amusing to me. Nonetheless, the book has quite a unique and well thought out plot. The main character, Debra, was at risk of inheriting a mental illness which makes the reader question whether the character was reliable or not. It kept the reader thinking and made them develop theories as they read. Were there actually unexplainable squeaks and footsteps at the most unlikely hours, or was she just imagining them? You'll have to read it to find out. Moving on to the characters. The two main characters in Anonymous, Debra and Julie, had their own personalities and quirks that set them apart from each other and really accented their friendship. In certain situations the characters are put in, the reader just knows which character would punch her way through or threaten her way through. That being said, I do wish that the other characters had a little more dimension characteristics that made them different or at least made me have some sort of emotion towards them. Also, considering the amount of trouble the characters had to deal with, they just did not develop as much as I thought they would have. I expected them to grow and learn new things and find new reasons to live. But they did not. There was the occasional burst of new found determination, but that usually faded away.They got over their problems with the characteristics they already possessed for most of their lives; and depending on how you look at it, that may even be a good thing. One of the things that brought me closer to Debra and Julie, however, was that they both had tragic backstories that made their characters a bit more round than the others. Every once in a while, there would be flashbacks explaining the characters actions which really comforted me as a reader. These flashbacks played big roles in the story, it wasn't just something of the past for the characters. It really gave me a perspective as to why they thought certain things or acted certain ways. It also made me understand and comprehend Debra's potential insanity. As I mentioned previously, this book is written in third person point of view. What I didn't say was: who's story is it following? Debra's or Julie's? The answer is both. It was really interesting to me because these two characters interacted a lot, so not only would the reader get insight on what the character in question thought of herself, but also what others would think about her. I would always found myself a little surprised at how a Debra thought of Julie or vice versa because I was already used to thinking of them the way they thought of themselves. I just thought of the the characteristics the the character limits themselves to as their only characteristics. That is up till the point where the other ones come along. If I were to read it again, I feel like I would still be surprised because it was written in a way that was so convincing, as if you were the character herself. One of Anonymous's strong points was the amount of imagery it had. Imagery is a really important factor, especially since this is a mystery thriller. As I was reading, I was imaging the scenery with so much detail, it was as if it was right in front of me. Another major pro to Anonymous, in my opinion, that really made look forward to what would happen next: the main characters were women who took care of themselves and each other most of the time. They did not wait for their husbands to solve their problems that required physical work, they did it themselves. I truly think the author deserves an applaud for that, the imagery, the main characters' detailed and convincing personality, and the wonderful plot. Anonymous had a closed ending. But it wasn't closed so tight that there wasn't any room for continuation, which I personally think is really great. I could imagine a second book explaining what had happened in the end and going more into the story of Ed (no spoilers, read the book). Anonymous written by Christine Benedict succeeded in spooking and amusing me at just the right times. I love the simplicity in which the book was written and I love how the words were not over exaggerated or under exaggerated; there was just the right words at the right times. I could definitely imagine this story as a movie. In fact, I am all for it. I recommend this book if you like unique mystery plots with the perfect amounts of humor,tension, light heartedness, suspension, and imagery that makes you feel like your living the story. I really look forward to reading Christine Benedict's short stories.

She fears she’s losing her sanity, but there’s so much more to the story. This is Christine Benedict’s first novel and while it might have taken her a while to write it, this shouldn’t be her last. This is the type of book best not to be read in the middle of the night and not while you’re alone. There are some books that stick with me. Those are the books that made some sort of emotional connection. In this case, the book just plain instilled good old fashioned creepiness. I couldn’t put it down, but then I was sort of afraid to. Having mental illness in my family, I could identify with Debra’s character. It’s scary to even fathom that one could be sinking into mental illness. Julie, her friend, is another character that is easy to relate to. Her children have grown and are about to fly free of the nest. It’s tough to have the kids grow up, even if it’s inevitable. I liked how they leaned on each other and became a great support for each other. This is a book that’s sure to please and will definitely stay with the reader long after the last page. Grab this book if you’re up for a story with heart and a good scare factor. You won’t want to miss it.



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