Ronald Malfi “Little Girls” Review

Posted: June 30, 2015 in Reviews, Uncategorized
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Length: 384 Pages

Publisher: Kensington

Release Date: June 30, 2015

Copy provided in exchange for an honest review as part of blog tour

Laurie Genarro and her family head back to her childhood home to handle her father’s estate after a tragic accident. Estranged from her father for years, she wasn’t around as his dementia progressively worsened and had no idea how bad things had gotten. As Laurie and her family take up residence in her childhood home, she can’t help but notice the unsettling remnants of her father’s troubled life – gouges line the floor, patches of carpeting pulled up from the carpet and windows that are curiously nailed shut. Laurie feels unsettled being in the house that is a constant reminder of childhood memories and the tragedies she thought she left buried in the past.

The longer she stays in the house, more memories are brought to the surface that only enhance Laurie’s growing paranoia and the strains in her marriage. It isn’t long before Laurie begins to experience strange things in the house. There are glimpses of a girl running through her yard and strange noises coming from the locked belvedere room, a place she was forbidden to enter as a child. Then there is her first meeting with Abigail, a ten-year-old girl from next door that befriends her daughter. She seems awfully familiar to Laurie because of her uncanny resemblance to her childhood friend Sadie, who died in a freak accident years ago. She writes it off as a mere coincidence, but future encounters lead Laurie to question her own sanity. Is this all in her mind – a result of marital stress and sadness – or is there something sinister about the girl next door and the room that was always forbidden?

Ronald Malfi immerses readers in the world he has created in Little Girls with richly detailed prose, life-like characters and vivid settings. I loved Malfi’s descriptions of Laurie’s childhood home and how he was able to give it a haunting personality that, in a way, makes it another character of the story. The home is a source of the memories and negative emotions that serve as a catalyst for Laurie’s growing paranoia and the strains in her marriage. There is also a sense of isolation surrounding the house that forces the family to confront not only their secrets, but those of Laurie’s father as well.

Malfi builds incredible levels of tension using the psychological impacts of the secrets lurking within the pages of Little Girls and by balancing the supernatural with the ordinary. It is the possibility of the supernatural that makes Laurie’s interactions with Abigail so incredibly creepy. While readers expecting an adrenaline-fueled haunting tale may not like the pacing of the novel, I felt it was brilliant and a perfect fit for this story. Malfi gives the reader just enough information to keep them hooked and challenges them to question any theories they develop with plenty of plot twists. I was so caught up in trying to solve the mystery swirling around the events of Little Girls with my own crazy theories, that Malfi was able to keep me guessing right up until the very last page about the truth behind everything that happened.

Weaving together the horror, mystery and psychological thriller genres, Malfi’s Little Girls is a complex and richly layered ghost story that slowly but surely creeps under your skin. I absolutely loved this genre-bending novel and not only would I recommend this to other horror fans, but fans of other genres as well.

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to learn more about Ronald Malfi and his work and a chance to win a paperback copy of Little Girls! I am also excited to announce that in July I will be hosting an interview AND guest post for Ronald Malfi, so be sure to stop back in at The Horror Bookshelf!

Rating: 5/5


Ronald Malfi’s Official Website

Kensington Publishing Official Website

Purchase Little Girls: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your favorite local bookstore

Little Girls tour logo

About Little Girls


From Bram Stoker Award nominee Ronald Malfi comes a brilliantly chilling novel of childhood revisited, memories resurrected, and fears reborn…

When Laurie was a little girl, she was forbidden to enter the room at the top of the stairs. It was one of many rules imposed by her cold, distant father. Now, in a final act of desperation, her father has exorcised his demons. But when Laurie returns to claim the estate with her husband and ten-year-old daughter, it’s as if the past refuses to die. She feels it lurking in the broken moldings, sees it staring from an empty picture frame, and hears it laughing in the moldy greenhouse deep in the woods…

At first, Laurie thinks she’s imagining things. But when she meets her daughter’s new playmate, Abigail, she can’t help but notice her uncanny resemblance to another little girl who used to live next door. Who died next door. With each passing day, Laurie’s uneasiness grows stronger, her thoughts more disturbing. Like her father, is she slowly losing her mind? Or is something truly unspeakable happening to those sweet little girls?

Praise for Ronald Malfi and his novels

“One cannot help but think of writers like Peter Straub and Stephen King.”

Malfi is a skillful storyteller.”—New York Journal of Books

“A complex and chilling tale….terrifying.”—Robert McCammon

Malfi’s lyrical prose creates an atmosphere of eerie claustrophobia…haunting.”—Publishers Weekly

“A thrilling, edge-of-your-seat ride that should not be missed.”—Suspense Magazine

Malfi headshot

About Ronald Malfi

Ronald Malfi is an award-winning author of many novels and novellas in the horror, mystery, and thriller categories from various publishers, including Little Girls, this summer’s 2015 release from Kensington.

In 2009, his crime drama, Shamrock Alley, won a Silver IPPY Award. In 2011, his ghost story/mystery novel, Floating Staircase, was a finalist for the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award for best novel, a Gold IPPY Award for best horror novel, and the Vincent Preis International Horror Award. His novel Cradle Lake garnered him the Benjamin Franklin Independent Book Award (silver) in 2014. December Park, his epic childhood story, won the Beverly Hills International Book Award for suspense in 2015.

Most recognized for his haunting, literary style and memorable characters, Malfi’s dark fiction has gained acceptance among readers of all genres. 

He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1977, and eventually relocated to the Chesapeake Bay area, where he currently resides with his wife and two children.

Visit with Ronald Malfi on Facebook, Twitter (@RonaldMalfi), or at


Sign up to win one of two paperback copies of Little Girls by Ronald Malfi by clicking the link to the Rafflecopter link below. Be sure to follow the specifics you can do each day to gain more entries.


  1. hookofabook says:

    Excellent review, Rich! Very well-written! I’m so glad you enjoyed the book and Ron’s writing style! Thanks for being a part of the tour! 🙂

    Erin 🙂

    Erin Al-Mehairi
    Hook of a Book Media and Publicity

    • Thanks Erin! I absolutely loved this book and am currently trying to get my wife to read it lol. Thanks for having me, I look forward to the other dates on this tour and then gearing up for Q Island!

  2. Very interested in reading this! Entering the giveaway now.

  3. […] Ronald Malfi “Little Girls” Review […]

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