A Little Company

Small towns are notorious breeding grounds for fear and ignorance. No matter the geographical location, these cruel masters continue to rule the everyday lives and affairs of dozens of individuals, regardless of race, gender, or credo.

This fact plays itself out in grand fashion in the North Country of upstate New York, particularly in the life of ten year-old Pauline Frasier. Pauline's daily affairs have adopted a regular routine - albeit a rather distressing one: Bill, her alcoholic father maintains a reign of terror over her, her mother, and her younger brother, Walter, everyday, his actions countered only by vague, empty promises of making things better someday. Having cowed the entire family with his temper and aggression, his cruelty rules unchecked until one day it results in Walter's premature death, a not-so-subtle attempt on Bill's part to scratch a long-standing itch regarding his wife's shadowed past.

Refusing to stifle her agony over Walter's death, Mary confronts Bill one day in a stunningly bold display, finally daring to break the emotional and physical chains by which he's bound her for too long; however, as is normally the case with domestic violence, the abuse ends at the same time as the life of the abused, and no exception is made in Mary's case. The death of her mother notwithstanding, Pauline suffers the added trauma of witnessing the tragic event with her own eyes.

Now alone with her father, Pauline learns to "go along to get along," enduring his insufferable ways with a resilient strength from within. Over time, though, that same strength contributes to a slow build-up of tension and subtle defiance, rising inside of Pauline in a crescendo of increasing confidence, until one day she suddenly finds herself in the same position as her mother - with her own life just as much at risk.

In A Little Company, Holly Gaskin refashions the ages-old morality tale of Good vs. Evil with an added element of palpable emotion. Her skillful use of flashbacks interwoven throughout the story helps punctuate the action and envelops the reader in the breath-taking suspense of the ultimate climax. Given the back story of how Pauline's life eventually comes to be, the reader may suspect what's coming, but is nonetheless enraptured in the unfolding action.

Also, one would expect that a story of prolonged child abuse and neglect would make for a difficult read, but Gaskin succeeds in framing Pauline's plight as a microcosm of juvenile victimization across the globe; by conveying the real truth about the heinous mental & emotional prisons of everyday life, she inspires empathy in the reader, among other passionate stirrings. Seeing news reports about child neglect in South Asian sweatshops is one matter, but learning of the recurrence of such acts so close to home is often a disturbing revelation.

Kudos to Holly Gaskin for providing the world with such a heart-rendering tale of innocence bowed, but not defeated. Her narrative will surely open the eyes of many individuals previously unaware of the stranglehold that domestic violence and child abuse continue to have over the lives of countless innocent souls everyday - and hopefully inspire them to do something to break it.

Apex Reviews

Congratulations to Holly for plotting a horror tale that causes the reader's heart to race, but doesn't keep one awake at night like the paralyzing nightmares that terrorized young Pauline.
This first novel has much to commend it, beginning with the title which has a double meaning. The story is replete with original characters, a well drawn plot and an unpredictable, satisfying ending---all indicating that the author is well read and has studied the genre.
Short chapters, precise vocabulary and well developed scenes make this an enticing fast read. It will appeal especially to YA readers who enjoy horror stories.

Hope Irving Marston

I just read this book by the Author: Holly Gaskin " A Little Company ", this author will tell a story of a family and I must admit that in reading this book, the story being told was one that gave to this author...
The author of this book, ( Holly Gaskin ) told of a story that not only kept my attention throughout the reading of this book, but in my opinion this author ( Holly Gaskin ) could be compared to V.C. Andrews ( Virginia Cleo Andrews ) the Author of such books as these books listed here below...

Flowers in the Attic:

Petals on the Wind:
If There Be Thorns:
My Sweet Audrina:
Seeds of Yesterday:
Dark Angel:

Diana L. Steady


If your kids love sitting around a campfire listening to ghost stories-- in this case, super-ghastly ghost stories-- this one is for them. Gaskin spins a horror story that's not for the feint of heart.

Blue Ink Reviews

Letter from a young reader

Dear Holly,
I loved the book "Tricked". Patrick's little sister. Mariah sounds a lot like my little sister. She is always in a Disney Priness costume for Halloween too and like to run around the house in it with her big heels too. When Mariah ran off I would have followed her instead of going on to the Halloween house with friends, because crazy stuff happens on Halloween night and it's my little sister and I so would have gotten in to so much trouble. 
As for the Arsenal St bridge, I dont ever want to go over there any more because the car went off the bridge and the cemetery is right there at the bottom of the bridge. 
This was a Great yet Creepy book since it was all local and I know where the places are you was talking about. Thanks and Keep written great creepy books like "Tricked" 


 Allie P.

(12) Ft Drum NY