In The Raising, Laura Kasischke exposes the ugly face behind sororities and the duplicity and cunningness of the human heart, and of people caught up in events that lead to often unforeseen tragedies. With her very first sentence:
The scene of the accident was bloodless, and beautiful.
She manages to draw the reader into the world of young Nicole Werner and her boyfriend Craig Clement-Rabbits; of Craig’s roommate Perry’s attraction to Mira Polson, the professor of sociology, who takes a class on Death, Dying, and the Undead; and of Shelly, who finds her life ruined because she happened to be the first and only witness at the scene of the accident.
Moving back and forth between the past (the year of the Nicole-Craig love affair) and the present (post Nicole’s death), Kasischke brings to life Nicole as a young, virginal, all-American girl. But as you continue reading, you realize that not everything is pretty and pink — there’s a dark side to that innocence, that, in fact, that innocence is just a façade for something more sinister.
Kasischke’s plot development is superb. Initially, you find yourself thinking that this might be another vampire/ghost love story, and you do manage to guess the end once you’re about mid-way through. Nevertheless, Kasischke’s writing style keeps you moving relentlessly forward, and she has thrown in some interesting plot twists along the way.
Overall, an interesting and engaging read.