My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Fifteen years ago, I worked at a biotech company in an old warehouse in a low rent part of town. Around the corner from that warehouse was an old dilapidated house with an overgrown yard, hidden sheds, and a population of cats. Every day I walked or biked to work and passed that house and peeked over the waist-high fence. I sometimes wondered what was back there. L.E. Moebius has an idea.
This book is not my usual type of reading, but it fits with my goal of reading more indie, self-published, and small press authors this year. It was quick and enjoyable, light (in a good way) in spite of the ghoulish subject matter. It felt appropriate reading for a long weekend that traditionally heralds the beginning of summer. I could imagine being scared by this story over a summer campfire.
The narrative voice mostly worked for me, carrying me along with the story and making me want to read more, something that ghost stories don’t always do. I also found that the 30-day countdown mostly worked, adding tension until the foreshadowing and the final denouement. In both cases, however, I felt the book could have used more editing. Some of the days seemed like filler to get to 30, and they could have been made more different from each other. Also, if I were the author, I would lose the “30 Days Stream of Consciousness” part of the title and just call it “A Haunting.” I believe this book is part of a series, all written in this style. If so and that is important to convey, perhaps refer to it in a subtitle. The current title is clunky and confusing.
I don’t believe in ghosts either, so I initially found the narrator’s skepticism charming and relatable, but by about day 20 it started to grate. It stopped seeming plausible that he would continue to blame the work crews for things that didn’t make any sense, and that he would keep buying Claire’s increasingly unbelievable stories. I found myself hoping for a kind of “Ghostbusters” sensibility in which I could gleefully suspend disbelief while the narrator confronted ectoplasm, slime, and villainy head-on, with gusto, but that didn’t happen either. Instead the story uncomfortably straddled the line between a sad, horrific, tragedy of inhumanity that you might read about in the newspaper, and the narrator’s almost breezy cluelessness.
I liked the supporting characters, especially the cats. And I didn’t even end up feeling that bad for the narrator at the end, because he seemed to have gotten what he wanted and was apparently still around in some way to tell us about it. But I’m still not going to buy that house!