Scott Nicholson is an accomplished, mature writer, and so prolific that surely he seldom, if ever, experiences writer's block! Additionally, he is so not a prima donna writer that he collaborates very successfully with many other authors, weaving seamless narratives that excite, thrill, and delight their readers. When I set out to read-and review-a Scott Nicholson novel, my only dilemma is "Which one do I read first?"
"Cursed!" by J. R. Rain and Scott Nicholson
Horror in the midst of realism; Supernatural invading every-day reality; this is the content of which nightmares are constructed. Join Authors Rain and Nicholson as they prove it's not impossible for an ordinary businessman, with all his faults, foibles, and a few saving graces, to witness the incursion of another realm-a very terrifying and dangerous realm-into his reality, without notice, without warning, but with every terror imaginable.
Sometimes unexpected life-changing (even life-ending) danger arrives in the form of a natural disaster, or an automotive accident, or a train derailment. For insurance claims investigator Albert Shipway, a dedicated alcoholic just past an ugly divorce, lost in his own way, danger comes in the form of a spooky little elderly lady, who looks like she just passed in from an earlier time and place, but who has the power to see his future-and his past-and maybe to foretell his fate.
Terror slinks in with the chill of an uncommon breeze, but it latches on to its unsuspecting victim with an unbreakable, unstoppable grip. Get into "Cursed!" and feel that grip-but don't read with the lights dimmed!
It isn't often readers can laugh while engrossed in the Supernatural, but when it does happen, often it's due to Scott Nicholson. October Girls is a laugh-out loud pleasure, geared perhaps to YA readers, but equally hilarious to adults-who can, after all, remember being young! Of course, most adults do NOT recall being adolescent and friends with the Dead, as is young Crystal, growing up in a tiny Appalachian hamlet, where her best friend has been deceased-quite a long time. If that premise isn't enough to captivate you, well, jump on in and try this book anyway. There's more going for you than just that.:)
Crystal has the ordinary teen angst, and some troubles not so ordinary: her best friend is dead, an eternal sixteen; her steady boyfriend is reliable, but not as hunky as the French-dropping amateur horror director who shops the video store where she works; and even though she descends from a generational heritage of proven magical abilities, Crystal's paranormal talents just don't cut it. Oh-and Darkmeet (the Other Side) is opening extra portals in town now. As Crystal's magical Momma suspects, Armageddon is edging ever closer-and the end of the world could come this October-on Halloween. Toss in an unborn movie-star wannabe, a misguided amateur filmmaker, the lonely dead (and the controlling dead), and all the horrors and spookies poised to spill out of Darkeet-and you have a roller-coaster spin-dry ride both horrifying and hilarious-think "Twilight Eyes" with laugh track. Read and enjoy!
Scott Nicholson enjoys exploring the mysteries of the afterlife, of the world beyond, but he never does it in a way that is dogmatic or judgmental. Rather, by his writing he enjoins the questions of "What comes after?", "Where do we go?", "What difference does the life we lead on Earth make?" and "Why should we care?" Instead of attempting to convince anyone he has the answers, he admits he doesn't-no one does-but cheerfully ventures forth into unknown territory, pulling readers along by the hand and giving them inventive narrative, humourous (and sometimes painful) dialogue, and a close look into characters who could be just like ourselves.
In this novel, Mr. Nicholson gives us death as waiting-room-which will probably remind most of unemployment offices or job interviews, but made me remember the death-as-bus-station waiting room episodes of the original Twilight Zone-a kind of "wait here till your name is called" approach to our eventual destinations.
Richard Steele is a private investigator in for a rude surprise: he's deceased. Worse than the surprise is the realization that he's left behind his beloved Lee, a woman who although vastly different in personality from him, still cherishes him-and the feeling is mutual. Worse yet, he's now in the realm of the dead, where one of the inhabitants is the woman who used to love him, then learned to hate him: his late wife Diana. To move on-to possibly have a chance to reach "heaven" and eventually reunite with Lee; to escape the eternal burning wrath that is the torch Diana still carries; Richard is assigned to investigate his own murder, determine the culprit, and get "the facts"-for heaven's sake.
"Speed Dating with the Dead"
-Out of four novels in the Scott Nicholson Library Vol. 3, I selected "Speed Dating with the Dead" to read first, because that title just titillates me! It inspires me to howl aloud and simultaneously grab for my Kindle for PC and get reading! And of course, as I begin the first page, immediately I settle into that comfortable armchair of the mind, installed beside a cozily blazing fire, feet ensconced on an ottoman, while outside the windows (of my mind's eye), a furious blizzard rages. No matter-I am now inside a Scott Nicholson novel, and reading is all I need.
"Speed Dating with the Dead" is such a catchy title-a reader might come to this novel expecting a paranormal chuckle-a-minute. True, the humour is present, in that trademark Nicholson way, that sneaks up and taps the shoulder before the mind realizes the leg has been pulled. But there's some very real, and realistic material here too: a father and daughter partnership, two remaining sides of a three-legged table, with the wife/mother left out, gone into death.
"Speed Dating with the Dead" is such a multi-layered novel that it almost beggars description. Like a Supernatural version of good literary fiction, this novel compels attention, interest, and the reader's dedication. I read it marveling at Mr. Nicholson's talent, as I do each time I open one of his novels. Write on!
Scott Nicholson Library, Vol. 3 (Boxed Set)