|Speed Dating with the Dead|
I love those books that keep me engaged so fully in the story that I can lose myself between the pages for hours and not even realize how much time has passed. That's exactly what I found with Speed Dating with the Dead. I was alternately terrified and captivated by this story. Now, this wasn't exactly what I was expecting based on the title. I was thinking it would be a humorous paranormal romantic thriller. Boy was I wrong! This book reminded me of a combination of that movie 1408 and an episode of one of those ghost hunter shows. But scarier, much scarier!
Alcoholic widower and well known ghost hunter Digger Wilson sets up a ghost hunting conference at one of the reputedly most haunted Inns. The White Horse Inn has special significance to Digger, since he and his wife made a pact long ago to meet here if one dies before the other. He's hoping he's able to find his wife's spirit there, but he ends up finding more than he expected. Along with his team of specialists, Digger brings along his artistic daughter, Kendra, who resents him and only wants to lose herself in the fictional world she creates on the canvas. While the plot was fairly evenly paced, there were many unexpected twists along the way. Don't get me wrong, there was a fair share of action, but the story unfolded little by little, which increased my sense of dread and anticipation.
I felt that the characters were one of the main strengths of this book. Each character was believable and all too human with very human failings. Each one was presented in such a way that I wanted to know more about them. Whether I liked them or hated them, I was interested to know what they would say or do next. One of the standout's for me was known as "The Roach", although I wasn't fond of his unfortunate moniker, I felt he was one of the most perplexing yet intriguing characters in the book. I was kept guessing at his true motivations. I also really enjoyed Kendra and her teenage antics to attract the attention of crush Cody aka The Future of Horror. I thought that their flirtation was immensely believable. All of Nicholson's characters were true to life and I found the dialog to be engaging and entertaining. The paranormal aspects were chillingly realistic as well. From ghosts, to demons, to creepy kids that seemed to show up at random, all were extremely goosebumpworthy.
I would compare Nicholson's writing style to Koontz's early stuff. I was really impressed with how effortlessly this story grabbed me and took me on a paranormal journey into some places I'm not so sure I want to revisit. I certainly won't be journeying into any basements any time soon. This is definitely a "lights on all night" kind of book and one that will keep you up late reading. I highly recommend for those who like to read about things that go bump in the night.
Rating – 4