An Extraordinary Haunting

An Extraordinary Haunting: Part One - Michael Christopher Carter

This wasn't terrible, but it felt quite a bit like a very early novel.


The author is clearly trying to find a voice, and he is starting to, but he hasn't quite managed yet and it makes the book feel a bit clunky. The subplots are awkwardly integrated and the shifts between different character viewpoints don't quite flow naturally. They're not bad, really, but they don't have the kind of polish needed to make them actually add something to the story. 


I'll be honest: I almost set this down several times in the first few pages. Neil starts as the type of rather awkward protagonist you occasionally see in horror movies/books--the loner who is somehow not really sympathetic. He does grow on you, admittedly, though part of that is because many of the other characters are particularly obnoxious. 


Plot-wise I was intrigued, however. I did see what was happening before the reveal (it was teased a little too long, personally), but it was not necessarily the normal way of handling a story like this, which was interesting. I wish the horror bits had been scarier, though. There are several scenes that are legitimately creepy in outline, but they don't get to the level of visceral detail that makes them terrify the reader. 


I'm interested enough to probably pick up the second part, and I do think the author is worth keeping an eye on, but this wasn't quite what I was hoping for. A chunk of that was just plain let-down, however: this could have been very good with a bit more polishing. The ideas are there, even the writing is not at all bad, it just needed a bit more to manage to be good. 


(This was my "Ghost Stories and Haunted Houses" read for the Halloween Bingo. I'll be mocking up the card for it later, once I figure out what I'm doing with that.)