BY WENDY ELLIOTT
Kings County Advertiser/Register
Dead Time is Christy Ann Conlin’s first young adult novella.
In just 86 pages, readers find themselves inside the head of a teenage psychopath after a murder.
Published last month by Annick Press, Dead Time is really the story of a neglected child. Isabella is a lone girl abandoned by her mother early on, stuck out in the country with a father who works non-stop.
Isabella, a high school student, finds herself stuck in jail after the violent murder of her boyfriend, Sergei’s, former girlfriend. We start out wondering if Isabella’s right to project the deed onto Sergei.
Conlin, who makes her home atop the North Mountain near Berwick, thinks of Dead Time as a horror novel that probably developed from her reading of Stephen King’s work or Lord of the Flies in high school. She was fascinated while immersed in the book by what makes a seemingly innocent girl so dark, so early.
While reading about Isabella’s jealousy, I kept thinking about the 15-year-old who ordered the death of Toronto teen Stefanie Rengel in 2008. Jealous without having met her victim, Rengel’s evildoer was sentenced as an adult, never showing any remorse.
Dead Time is one half of a flip book. The companion novella is Shelter. In it, Jen Sookfong Lee has her own take on youth ignored – an equally uncomfortable read.
The two stories together sell for $9.95 in softcover. Conlin will sign books at the Box of Delights in Wolfville March 25.