The Arrest in Mannequin Row
Independently published (August 24, 2020)
Reviewed by Rick Hipson
The latest novella by fellow Ontarian Kit Daven is a quiet tale full of ghosts. At its heart is underwater scavenger Jule Monroe, a former street kid with the emotional scars to prove it. All her life, the only real kindness she knew came from a local beat cop named Arthur, who made it his mission to look out for her. With Arthur’s support and her unyielding tenacity, Jule rose above her street-level life to own a shop of sunken trinkets and treasures. When she overhears a hot lead about a freshly submerged stash in James Cove, she’s all in. Brimming with ambition and curiosity in equal parts, Jule races to be the first to find the stash, despite rumours of haunted waters and the sunken town full of dead townspeople who forever speak beneath the surface. Nobody ventures there, but ghost stories are for believers, and Jule never believed in ghosts. However, when Jule comes face to face with what awaits her when she’s submerged beneath that cold bay, she starts to believe in something else entirely.
The novella is, in essence, a ghost story, but it’s also a coming-of-age story of sorts, too. On the backbone of the tale’s simple premise is Kit’s talent for pitching us behind the eyes of her multi-layered characters. Like a surgeon who moonlights as a butcher, Kit wrings all understanding—every hope, fear, and shred of anxiety—from her mighty pen, which seems incapable of wasting a single ink stain, be it through distinct poetic prose or through the thorough examination of a troubled heart screaming from within.
A captivating tale, designed to leak into the marrow of your subconscious, lure you into its cold depths, and force you to explore your own haunted soul. Kit Daven proves to be a new Canadian voice worth listening for.