Tag Archives: supernatural horror

Ghost of a Chance by Simon R Green

I am, in general, a huge fan of Simon R Green. I LOVE his Secret Histories series, with Eddie Drood, his partner Molly the Wild Witch, and the crazy huge and complicated Drood family. I don’t like the Nightside series quite as much as the Droods, but its still good, just not as much my thing. I had high hopes for the first book in the Ghost Finders series.

hopes dashed meme

This novel was a disappointment. The biggest issue was the characters. The three “good” guys, JC Chance, Melody Chambers, and Happy Jack Palmer work for the Carnacki Institute, an organization that exists to deal with ghosts. JC is the overly positive and optimistic team leader whose special talent appears to be strong willpower and bossing his team around. Melody is the tech geek, who believes science can explain everything (sort of?) and likes her computers more than she likes people. Happy is a pill-popping telepath, whose powers are overwhelmingly strong so he needs to constantly medicate to function. Unfortunately, none of these characters were likable in any way. They were one-dimensional and honestly obnoxious. I am absolutely the sort of reader who wants to be able to empathize with the characters, or even feel like I could be part of their world and be their friend. The only character I came close to liking was JC, the attractive, suave, smart leader – and then he fell in love with a ghost he knew for exactly 0.7 seconds, which made NO SENSE WHATSOEVER and that’s pretty much when I lost interest in the novel.

what face meme

My face, when the main character abandoned his team to chase after a ghost he was “madly in love with” that he literally just met. 

Then there were the “bad” guys from the Crowley Project, a group interested in the supernatural to meet their own ends and basically take over the world – because of course someone is evil and trying to take over the world. *eye roll* I don’t even remember their names any more. The female (Natasha maybe?) was another telepath with a violent history, like helping her mother kill her father, who carried lots of weapons and was in general Dangerous. The male (Erik?) was a genuine mad scientist who made a computer out of a cat! What?! Creepy. Sometimes, when you can’t connect with the good guys in a novel, you can at least be interested in the bad guys. Not so in this novel. They were awful and nightmare-inducing, with (once again) no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I didn’t like anybody. What a bummer.

ghost of a chance coverThe world building and the supernatural elements in this novel were creepy AF. Like, I had moments where I wondered if an author with ideas this frightening might possibly need to be locked up. Yes, OK, I’m being a smidgen dramatic. But dude. This definitely headed towards “horror” rather than just urban fantasy. Maybe I’m a wimp but it was too scary and horrific for me.

If you enjoy horror and really freaking scary world building, you might enjoy this book. If you read for characters like I do, forget it. 2 out of 5 stars, and I won’t be continuing with this series. Too many books, too little time.

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Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

patient zero coverJoe Ledger is a Baltimore detective who recently finished a stint with a counter-terrorism group. He has an outstanding military career, moved quickly through the ranks of the Baltimore police department, and has his eye on a job with the FBI. Then, during a relaxing beach visit, two FBI thugs come and take him to a warehouse several hours from the beach. There, he meets Mr. Church, who tells him he is being recruited into a special branch of the government called the Department of Military Science (DMS), a counter terrorism group that specifically targets terrorist groups with bioweapons. Joe is told for his audition, he needs to subdue and handcuff the man in the adjoining room. Joe doesn’t think this audition will be too difficult, until he discovers that the man in the adjoining room is the same man he killed earlier in the week, only he’s not dead anymore. Joe survives his audition without a scratch, just a shattered world view. He takes the job with DMS and gets ready for a whole new kind of battle.

My first experience with supernatural horror was World War Z, a book I stupidly read at the beach a few summers ago. Terrifying zombie book in an unusual creaky house in a new location….the book was spectacular, but I didn’t sleep much that vacation. I’ve read a bunch of other decent zombie books since then, but Patient Zero was the first to have me hiding under the covers when the lights were off. This book was brilliantly written, because you can absolutely imagine it happening in real life. The characters were so believable, especially Amirah, the actual mad scientist. Wow, she was creepy. Gault, the evil mastermind was rather scary as well, but nothing could top the scene of Amirah pressing her face against the glass to be as close as possible to her freaky zombie creations. Having good protagonists is certainly important to make a novel shine, but antagonists that are truly evil who you can’t get out of your head afterwards can be even better.

Speaking of protagonists, our main “good guy” Joe Ledger is also well written. Sometimes the way characters react to having their entire world view turned on it’s side is predictable and dull. Ledger’s reaction wasn’t, which made it even more realistic. While he did take charge of the situation and become the leader the mysterious Mr. Church needed him to be, he was also still freaked out and overwhelmed by the whole situation, as evidenced by him dragging his psychologist and best friend Rudy into a top secret government mission. And his occasionally being so horrified he had to go throw up, something I can imagine myself doing quite often when presented with the living dead. I liked the relationship between him and Grace as well, and watching Grace go from disliking him immensely to trusting him with her life. She is an interesting character, and we don’t get to learn much of her back story. I hope she’s around in the next novel.

creepy zombie photo

This ridiculously creepy photo came up when I was searching for cover images for Patient Zero. So I thought I would just leave it here for you.

I thought it was cool that the “zombie virus” in this story was an intentional bioweapon, not an accident or a mystery. I think that made the villains even scarier, thinking someone would intentionally destroy people like this. And that everyone working around that mad scientist thought it was a good idea! Really makes me feel like looking over my shoulder and being careful what I breathe, haha.

This was my first Jonanthan Maberry novel, and now I have discovered that he has written tons of supernatural horror. I will definitely be checking out some of his other books. During daylight hours. When there are other people around. So I feel safe.

Happy reading,

-Branwen