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Ghost Road Blues (A Pine Deep Novel) Paperback – May 31, 2016
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"If you think small town horror has nothing new to offer, you have a surprise in store. Ghost Road Blues demonstrates that even the most haunted town in America is unprepared for the full depth of evil, either human or inhuman."
About the Author
Jonathan Maberry is a New York Times bestselling and five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning horror and thriller author, editor, comic book writer, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. He was named one of the Today's Top Ten Horror Writers by Horror Novel Reviews. His award-winning young adult novel Rot & Ruin is an American Library Association Top Pick. His novels Extinction Machine and V-Wars are in development for TV, and Rot & Ruin is being developed for film. His books have been published in more than two-dozen countries. He lives in southern California. Readers are invited to visit him on Facebook and at www.jonathanmaberry.com.
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Also, random references to music was forced. The mayor makes a reference to a jazz drummer in the middle of all the chaos and carnage going on. Doesn't ring true at all. We get it, Maberry. You know your music.
So, I've gone on for awhile here, but, in honor of the author, "in short", this book sucks. Don't read it. It's poorly written, poorly developed and poorly edited.
This first book sets up the scene of a quiet little town that comes to life during the Halloween season. The town capitalizes on the local folk lore and ghost stories. Unbeknownst to them, there is true evil buried in their land and it has been waiting 30 years to rise again.
This is not a fast paced, non-stop action story. It’s an atmospheric, evil, paranormal story. Jonathan Maberry has taken his time to create the perfect word pictures needed to build tension, describe the land, and introduce you to the citizens.
Crow is our hero, a man of average height who can beat the crap out of any comer. Val, a tough as nails farmer’s daughter is Crow’s girlfriend. Terry is the mayor, Crow’s best friend. He is cursed, but I don’t think he truly knows how. He sees his dead sister. Tow-truck Eddie thinks he’s doing God’s work. Vic is a mean-nasty man full of the evil that fills the land. Mike, 14 years old, is Vic’s stepson and punching bag. Mike has a vivid imagination, likes to pretend he is a superhero, and is a protégé of Crow’s. Ruger is a thief and murder who crashes into town and gets mixed up in the evil. Not something that is hard for him since he is already consumed by evil. Then, there is The Man and the Bone Man.
This story isn’t for the faint of heart. There are graphic scenes of violence, evil thoughts, and evil deeds. The bad guys know what’s up but our heroes haven’t yet figured it out. Also, there is no conclusion in this book. It is just the first book in a longer story. I’m looking forward to reading the next two. I think I have a couple of things figured out but don’t want to spoil it for you.
Problems that caused me to down rate just a bit? The book felt like it began at a snail's pace for me as there were so many characters being introduced in such a detailed manner that it felt a bit like slogging through mud; yet they were written in such a colorful and well thought out manner that I can still clearly see most of them in my mind so it was probably necessary. The middle of the book again sputters just a little then picks quickly back up and of course there is no real end it's left kind of like a cliffhanger because we have 2 more books to read. One other small thing keeps creeping into my mind bothering me and while it's a small plot point it keeps poking me. There was a character who is just a preteen boy who is badly abused by his stepfather and the abuse is watched and completely ignored by his mom and although noticed by many in town they just let it ride. One adult character who has also been abused reaches out to him in a minor way, but even he fails to stand up for this kid. This plot point haunts me which is good writing, but I don't have to like it. Finally it was a couple dozen pages too long.
Plus points- That same detailing that slowed the pace of the book has left these characters firmly planted in my memory. There were both truly likable characters and equally hate-able villains both human and supernatural who have left strong impressions behind. The descriptions used to set some scenes were so chilling that I had goosebumps on first reading them and would probably still have them if I were to read those passages again and when it came to setting the reader up for the big scares, I haven't seen too many authors do it better. Two more things stand out for me which I believe Mr Maberry would consider to be scores the second a huge one. First I'm not sure exactly how, but without having to suspend belief very much even though the supernatural was involved this author made me feel that this could happen somewhere in the world today and that is shivery creepy. Lastly, Mr Maberry made me feel invested in seeing where this trilogy journey is going, how the various characters will come through it or even if they will and what the final resolution will eventually be. I've already picked the next book Dead Man's Song up so I'd say Mr Maberry wins game over.