The Ghost Hunters by Neil Spring
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I thought this was an okay novel. The thing that made it quite good was the fact that it was based on some reality, although the characters did enjoy some embellishment for the sake of the story. Obviously, a lot of research had been put into the novel, and for that, I can give it good props.
Unfortunately, the tale was a bit on the dull side. From a pure story view, there's absolutely nothing here that hasn't been seen a hundred times when it comes to the intrepid scientific debunker of mystical charlatans or the expected twists that come with tales of this nature. "Is it real or is it hoax?" So often, readers of this kind of trope rely on the strength of the characters and the excitement of the plot to carry us along.
So where the characters exciting and complicated and delightful? Well... they were serviceable. I wish that I actually liked Henry more or perhaps hated him more. I wanted to Feel something more. Did I want to see his downfall something fierce? Nah. Did I fear for his bitter end? Nah.
So what about Sarah? I liked her quite a bit, but not enough until after she had left Henry the second time did I really get attached to her. And that was well past the half-way point of the novel. So could the debunking really carry the novel? No. Not really. They were mildly curious oddities, and I've watched tons of b-movies, read lots of silly tales, and I've even read a lot of the greats within both sides of the issue, from Manly P. Hall to Madame Blavatsky, and this novel just kinda... moved along.
It wasn't a bad novel. It just wasn't very special. I found myself kind of hoping that some great lovecraftian reveal might happen just to stir my blood, but unfortunately, there was no such luck. It was based somewhat on reality, and so we must suffer a lot of the disappointments therein.
What? People are disappointing? They're flawed and given to delusions no matter where you look? Noooo... it can't be! *sigh*
The "ghost" was slightly interesting, at least, but she wasn't nearly strong enough to carry the rest of the tale, or possibly, the tale would have been served a great deal more by glossing the early debunking stuff and focusing on the manor entirely.
I'm too spoiled in having read really great ghost stories to get really excited with this one. Alas.
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