Writing World seems to be filling up with book reviews lately. What happened to my writing life? It’s on hold I guess because I haven’t been writing, I’ve been reading. A lot. It’s fun.
I found this one, again, through a deal listed on BookBub. I got it for free on Amazon and I have to say that I’m really glad it was free. Even 99 cents would have been too much.
I had such high hopes for it because it sounded really interesting – a good spook fest. But I was doomed to disappointment. There were lots of good qualities about this book, one of which was the premise. The story could’ve been so good if it had been fleshed out a little more.
It was too short for one, way too short. And the horror aspects were glossed over. For a horror story, that’s a no-no. I know a lot of times less is more and I’m not into the gross out factor of blood and guts flying everywhere, but every time something truly scary could’ve happened, McGregor skipped ahead and only thought back to the scene in vague terms.
I’m going to try not to spoil anything here, but there was one instance I’d like to use as an example. Billie and Mockler are walking through Murder House. She sees things but you don’t get to see any of it through her eyes. You only hear her telling a bit (not detailed) about what she’s seeing. Then she says she needs to get out, doubles over to throw up…and the chapter ends. The next chapter starts up after it’s all done.
What just happened? You then get a brief recap of what Mockler remembers and you get his feelings of what he experienced and saw. But none of it elicited likewise feelings from me. For a true scare I want to see and experience what Billie sees and experiences. Or, in the case of Mockler witnessing what happens to Billie in the house, I want to be there in the moment in Mockler’s brain. I want to see it and feel it, not have him think back on it.
This book could have been so good if McGregor hadn’t kept the reader distanced from it all and had fleshed out the really juicy parts. If someone is going to be dragged across the floor by unseen hands, you want the reader right there experiencing it, not hearing about it later in vague terms. It’s just not the same.
I will, however, keep reading in the hopes that the second book, Welcome to the Spookshow, is better. It’s longer so there’s hope in my mind for more detail. I’ll be able to learn about the near-drowning experience that is continually referred to in this book but never fully explained (which was a bit annoying) because the second book is a prequel to this first one. It would’ve made more sense to have the second one actually be the first one but the first one probably came about first (obviously) and then enough interest was generated to write the events that came previously. There’s really no help for that when it happens. I’m just glad he wrote about the previous events at all.
If I had had to pay for this second book, no, I would not continue reading based off of this first book. I hate saying that because I’m shooting another author down and the book has a lot of potential. But it’s true and I don’t want to mislead people. I enjoyed The Spookshow but not enough to pay money. I am looking forward to reading Welcome to the Spookshow. I still have hopes that he’ll do a better job because the skill and the ideas are there. I just wish he had done a little more editing before publishing.
Enough of that. If you sign up for his newsletter (which I did), you get the second book free so it was a win-win for me.
“Tim McGregor is an author and screenwriter. He lives in Toronto with his wife and children. Some days, he believes in ghosts, other days, not so much.”