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Be warned- the first paragraph of the book is .. well… wow… I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it. I think I was actually in shock for a while and thought “No, sorry, I don’t think I want to read this” And I’m no lightweight when it comes to horror, torture et cetera. But it got a bit steadier as I read on and it so happened I fought and conquered sleep just to finish it. I could not put the book down and go to bed, like I do with a lot of books. I wanted to get to the end. Then. There. Now.

I had a lot of questions, just as Emily, the main character did. Just as the whole town did. And this is what you really want when you’re reading something- for the story to grab hold of you with its iron grip and not let go until you’ve read the last sentence, the last word, the last period/exclamation mark/The End.

“The Sham”… Let me ask you this, potential future reader of The Sham, have you ever seen Sin City? Yes? Did you enjoy it? I did. Even though I slept through the last 20 minutes of it, I like the movie (it’s OK to be a working adult who conks out in front of TV). It’s weird, it’s different and it can make you uneasy… Or, perhaps there are other movies, cartoons, anime, books out there that bring about those same yet so very different emotions? The Sham by Ellen Allen belongs to this list.

I liked Emily. Mostly because her emotions throughout the book were so human. There was none of this “Hang on now, I don’t think any human would say or do that in this situation!” moments. I didn’t feel like any characters were pushed into dialogue, into actions. There was plenty of real life awkwardness. I liked how at times I was rather confused because the story had such a pace I felt like I was falling behind. Talk about keeping a reader on their toes! I thought I couldn’t skip a page because I might lose important information, critical to what was yet to unravel.

My reason for giving 4 stars for The Sham is this- I can’t give it 3 because it’s worth more than that. I can’t give it 5 because to my knowledge Ellen is writing another book and I have a feeling she will deliver even better!  I like quirky, weird, out of the ordinary stories and if you do, too then you should give it a go!