Everyone has their reason’s for loving certain genres of literature. Maybe you are a fan of “romance” because you live for happy endings, maybe you like “paranormals” because you get enough of “reality” in your “real life.” Or maybe, just maybe…you are one of those people that like to read celebrity memoirs simply because, 9 times out of 10, they reinforce the thought that (despite not getting that new pair of Air Jordan’s in the 5th grade) you did indeed have a spectacular childhood.
Me? I’m the person who loves horror novels because (more often then not) they are difficult to predict.
In “The Dead Path,” Stephen M. Irwin does justice to all of the wonderful features that make horror novels difficult to put down. It was creepy, twisted, filled with traumatic childhood memories, and haunted to the point of delirium.
Most of us believe that our souls quickly move from death to peace after our lives are stolen from us, but Nicholas Close knows better. After a freak accident that claimed the life of his wife, Close starts to notice things that no one else seems to see. For example: See that little girl in the front of the plane choking? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Why? Because she’s already dead. As a matter of fact she died a few weeks ago. Nicholas however, can describe to you in great details what she was wearing, the color of her eyes, and the look of terror that molded into her features as she died. See, Nicholas can see ghost, but not just any ghost, only the tortured ones; ones doomed to spend their last violent moments in a horrifically endless loop. Terrified by the thought of his sanity leaving him, Nicholas decides to return to his hometown, unfortunately he learns (very quickly) that there is no running from this sort of evil, and before he knows it, finds himself knee deep in missing children and murder investigations that all seem to lead back to one specific place. The woods.
The very first thing I noticed when diving into “The Dead Path” was Irwin’s spectacular use of language. While most horror novels default into descriptions of blood and mayhem to get their point across, Irwin approached his story from a different angle. One of intrigue and speculation. Instead of giving the answers away he forced you to find them for yourself, and in doing so, we (as readers) were led on a journey of (better than brilliant) adjectives. While I will be first to admit that this was not an overly “scary” read, as touted in the synopsis, I will go on record as saying the “atmosphere” created to accompany the characters throughout their journey was nothing short of what nightmares are made of (aka spiders, creepy old ladies, acres of abandoned woods, and dark magic.) The only (major) issue I feel the need to point out would be that the story was (even though written beautifully) a little wordy (in a few places) that could have benefited (action wise) from a more forward approach, but… if you are a person who enjoys details, this is can be easily overlooked as “newbie jitters” (meaning this is Irwin’s debut novel) and is in no way a deal breaker.
So…all in all? Great read, great writing and a fascinating exploration into the darker side of hauntings.
Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: Unless you let your pain go, it will never fully leave you.
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