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Sometime effective crime/horror synthesis
on 5 July 2004
The author has already become a best-seller with crime novels with vague supernatural tweaks (which I didn't like much - the supernatural bits) and here he departs for Stephen King Island with a fully fledged 'there's something weird, and it don't look good' out in the woods opus.
This is an engaging read, but I feel some of portentuous prose builds an expectation that the plotting and denoument do not deliver upon. The 'Bad Men' - the villains are imprecisely drawn and I had to keep checking back to see which one was which. The more interesting criminals seemed to meet unsatisfyingly dull endings and there was some sub Tarantino dialogue grafted on that jarred hugely.
The ghosties didn't do enough. There was no real interaction with them like you get in excellent horror thrillers, so, while it was atmospheric, I didn't get the sense that the supernatural elements could be 'taken on' in any way hence the subtraction of tension.
On the plus side, the book maintains a good pace and has a couple of characters who actually care about, which adds to some of the punch at the end.