When I was a teenager I used to have this horrible reoccurring dream. I was always running from something, a person, a ghost, an abnormally large tomato with teeth, (the “what” is not really important) what is important is that I always got caught. I never saw my death (thank God for small miracles) but I did get to go to my funeral. My very empty, no one was there, dear Lord this is a waste of Father Mackelhaney’s time, empty. I would walk very slowly up the aisle to where my (extremely F*cking ugly) casket lay and then take a peek inside, and every time I would see the same thing…me in a very pink, very ruffled dress (insert horrified scream.) Ok, so maybe my dream wasn’t all that horrible, and yes…I was smart enough to figure out it stemmed from my ridiculous fear of pink and being shunned in death, but I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.
No? Damn it… I guess I was a little abstract. Anyways, my point is/was/should have been that we all have scary dreams, but what would you do if your dreams starting coming true?
What if…one night you dreamed that your Great Aunt Juju died in a horrific fire only to wake up and find it actually happened?
These are the questions Thacher Cleveland dares to ask in his novel “Shadow of the Past.”
Mark Watson thought high school was hell enough as it was, but when he starts seeing visions of a young boy from the 50’s that was kidnapped and forced to watch a series of grisly murders, he’ll find out that the supernatural force behind those killings has plans to show him that there are worse hells than bullies and gym class.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to him. Everything has always been against Mark. He’s poor, unpopular, orphaned to an uncaring uncle and with zero prospects for the future. It seemed like that was going to change when he literally runs into Christine Baker, a new girl at school who doesn’t know anything about Mark’s embarrassing past and begins showing interest in him. He’s falling in love for the first time, his bullying nemesis at school is out for blood, and the few loved ones he has are being picked off by a supernatural force of darkness and fire. There’s no peace anywhere he turns, and that looks to be exactly where the resurrected killer wants him: broken, alone, and facing his end in the house that saw the deaths of four children and still holds a terrible evil waiting to be reborn.
So, lets talk about the first chapter first, (yeah…I’m taking a big leap here.) Wow…that was freaking fantastic. I have never been that drawn in by a first chapter in my life. If was mysterious, it was a tad creepy, and it left you hanging. Now, unfortunatly…as thrilled as I was to keep reading after that grand-pumba of an opening I was equally disappointed by the halting stop the book took. Ok, I know…mysteries/thrillers/horror novels, whatever the hell you want to actually call this book requires set up, but to say I was bored by the first 10 or so chapters would be a gross understatement.
Here I was, hoping to read about a haunted house and the kids that it was eating when I suddenly found myself reading pages of self-loathing monologues. I assure you, I’m down for a good pity-party myself once in a while, and I DO think that this “trait building” in the character was necessary (for the end of the book) but I think Thacher could have knocked a few meaningless chapters out of the middle.
As for the character building as a whole? Great job. (For the record: I think Steve is an ass and I would be happy to punch him in the…um…throat?) Each personality in the story was very well-developed and the alternating perspectives made for an interesting twist when it came to figuring out what the hell was actually going on.
“Hey Misty…what about the freaking book?” You are right…I should get to the good stuff.
Man, what a creative ass story. (Geez…does anyone else feel like I’m cussing a lot today? May I should watch that.) Besides the initial hiccups, and what I will call “newbie jitters” the story was a very well thought out and intricate one. Once the “resurrected killer” started making his presence known, the action took over and before I knew it I was back to chapter 1 and my inability to put it down.
So where does this leave me overall?
I say…if you are a ghost/thriller/suspense/horror lover you will be happy with your $1 purchase, for the rest of you…take a pass and wait for something more fru-fruey (like my pink casket dress.)
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: If its large, red and has suspiciously large teeth…run like hell!
Click image for complete details.