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A book review: Ghosts of Lille

Nicholas L. M. Allen

Feb 21, 2024

A look at a local story haunting the shelves

“The Ghosts of Lille” by Kimberley Kocken is a haunting and atmospheric debut novel that weaves together the chilling elements of supernatural terror and historical mystery. The story unfolds on the cusp of a notable change in Emma’s life as her family relocates to a remote village in Alberta, one that will be familiar to long-time residents of the Pass. This move sets the stage for a series of eerie events that will test the boundaries between the living and the dead.

As Emma grapples with a recurring nightmare on the eve of their move, the narrative takes a spine-tingling turn, linking her fears to the ominous history of Turtle Mountain, the site of Canada’s deadliest rockslide. The quaint house they settle into, surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the area, soon becomes a source of disquiet as strange occurrences unfold, leaving Emma questioning her own instincts and the safety of her family.

The novel takes on a captivating dimension as Emma befriends Felix, an older resident, who be-comes her guide through the dark tapestry of the house’s history. Kocken skillfully integrates supernatural elements, blending tragic and ghostly tales of previous inhabitants, creating a narrative that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. The stories shared by Felix gradually reveal a pattern of malevolent forces, raising the stakes for Emma and her family.

What sets “The Ghosts of Lille” apart is Kocken’s ability to infuse the story with a sense of place, drawing on her own experiences and the rich history of Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass. The author’s background as an Indigenous youth and her connection to the land add depth to the narrative, cre-ating a unique and authentic atmosphere.

As the suspense builds, readers will find themselves immersed in a tale of psychological tension, historical intrigue, and supernatural occurrences. Kocken’s writing is engaging and evocative, bringing the characters and the haunted setting to life. “The Ghosts of Lille” marks a promising debut for Kimberley Kocken, highlighting her talent for storytelling and her ability to craft a gripping novel that seamlessly blends the past with the present, and the natural with the supernatural.

The book is available locally at the Gilded Haus or on

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