...or why books and tv rank higher than sleep

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Review: Speed Dating with the Dead

Nicholson, Scott. Speed Dating with the Dead. Haunted Computer Books. E-book.2010. 274pp

When Wayne "Digger" Wilson hosts a paranormal conference at the haunted White Horse Inn, he has motives beyond searching for the inn's legendary ghosts.
Years ago, he made a honeymoon promise to his wife Beth that if one of them died, the survivor would return to the White Horse to summon the other's lost spirit. Now she's dead and Digger's back, with the daughter they conceived during that fateful honeymoon sixteen years before. And the ghost hunters are stirring up ancient evils that were better left in peace, because the inn's basement is home to a circle of demons that have been waiting for Wayne to return.
They want his teenage daughter Kendra, and they'll play whatever tricks they need in order to satisfy their dark desires. And at the White Horse Inn, not even angels can be trusted . 

Mr. Nicholson was nice to send me the e-book version of this book and The Red Church (review will be forthcoming). I was particularly intrigued to read this book after learning it was based on a real hotel where a paranormal conference took place.
   There is a lot going on in this book. Lots of characters with their own storyline and reasons to be at this hotel during the conference. I spent a lot of time in the beginning trying to get my bearings and figure out who was who in this book. Despite my confusion, I found myself really getting into the book fairly quickly. 
  I find a lot of horror novels to be formulaic. Certainly this one had its Rose Red and Poltergeist-like elements, but there was enough spooks and chills in the book to overcome most of the feelings of "I read this before". I particularly liked the storyline involving Kendra, the daughter of conference leader Digger. She was a solid character in a book where character development was sacrificed for scares. As a reader you can understand Kendra's struggle to believe what was occurring is more than tricks and her Dad's imagination.I would definitely want to read more books with her in it, especially if they also explore her relationship with Cody. I also enjoyed the over the top-ness of the conference guests who all had their own agenda. 
  There is a lot going on, and a lot of people to keep track of, in a relatively short (274 pp) book. I wish more was spent on character development, fewer characters, and the religious aspect of the book seemed gratuitous. I still don't understand how halo colors apply to Kendra. 
  Overall this was a fast read and a chilling book. The kind of book that will scare the beejeezus out of you if you are reading it home alone on a rainy/windy night. 

Rating: a solid 3 eyeglasses

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