Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Written by Brian Keene
Published by Leisure Books
To be completely honest with you guys, I’ve noticed a serious down turn in Brian Keene’s output over the last few books. Nothing he’s written for a while has really thrilled me, so I hoped for something good with Ghost Walk. Sadly, though, I really think this might be the worst thing he’s done to date.
An ancient evil who can not be named has found it’s way into our world thanks to a local down on his luck drunk, who finds a set of stones in the infamous LeHorn’s Valley area of some woods and removes one, hoping to sell it to a museum for some drinking money. He gets possessed by this entity, who then goes out and finds more victims to pull up stones (there are 8 in all) so he can come into our world all the way.
Meanwhile, a local man is putting together a ghost walk for this small town to enjoy, it being Halloween and all. His volunteers become most of the victims of the aforementioned ancient evil, but no one really notices till it’s too late. At the same time a female reporter, looking to move above crappy articles in the local rag, starts investigating the mystery surrounding LeHorn’s Hollow and the evil that flows from it. Eventually she teams up with an ex-Amish man and a guy from an insane asylum to bring that ancient evil to a end before it can overrun the world with darkness.
For those unaware, LeHorn’s Hollow was the setting of one of Keene’s last books, Dark Hollow, about a man who finds a satyr living in the woods outside his house that’s making all the women disappear. Said man is Adam Senft, the guy from the insane asylum I mentioned earlier. Just another example of Keene trying to piece together a whole universe of characters, with varying degrees of success.
The primary reason Ghost Walk falls short is that it feel rushed. Like he needed to come up with an idea for a book, fast, so just came up with a story about something formless and evil trying to take over. Maybe he thought the Amish guy in Diary of the Dead was funny so decided to make him an action hero, too? I don’t know, but the whole book just smacked of laziness more than anything else.
Maria, the reporter, is such an underdeveloped character that you never feel anything for her, even though Keene does a valiant job of giving her a history and backstory. There’s just something about the way that he does it that just feels empty. Part of the problem is Keene sets her up with a motivation that fades away quickly; either he as the author or she as the character looses focus way too early on and you have to wonder why you just sat through so many pages of personality development for it to be tossed out so readily.
In all honesty, I’m hard pressed to come up with much of anything positive to say about Ghost Walk, save that some of the ideas thrown out for the actual attraction itself are pretty cool. Even the all-encompassing, formless evil doesn’t do anything for me, partly because it’s yet another all-powerful evil in Keene’s universe bent on destroying mankind, though very slowly, and partly because it just comes off as generic.
All in all Ghost Walk is Keene’s most disappointing effort to date. I’m not sure if he’s churning them out too quick just to keep deadlines or his well is emptying, but hopefully he’ll step back and reevaluate the kinds of stories he wants to tell before much longer.
1 out of 5
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