So there was this book on Netgalley that looked excellent. It had a synopsis that immediately piqued my attention. I requested it , saw that it was the second in the series, and request the first one – The Supernaturals – from my local library. And somewhere along the line, I recognized that the name David L. Golemon sounded very familiar. Two minutes on Goodreads, and I had my answer. Golemon is the author of the Event Group thrillers. I have two of those books, and I don’t think I’ve ever managed to finish either of them. Oh dear…
But I had said I’d review the second one, so I needed to read The Supernaturals first. So, I bravely told myself that maybe this series would be different. I can occasionally be hit or miss with thrillers, but am fairly easy to please with supernatural stuff. I hoped I’d start reading The Supernaturals and be swept away by the story. This would be the Golemon book that I finished and loved!!
Well… it’s the Golemon book that I finished, at least. I deserve a cookie.
The Supernaturals is a fairly well-written book in most respects. There are a few consistency errors that bugged me, like the broken neck that became a broken leg. I liked the characters – or at least the idea of the characters. I loved how the book started off with stuff happening immediately. I thought that the initial idea that the author presented for the house (that it could look so cheery and beautiful while the evil was dormant) was really neat. But just because it’s fairly well-written doesn’t make it a good book. A book like The Supernaturals needs to sell on the tension, the atmosphere, as everything builds to the big showdown.
It didn’t. Not even a little bit.
The Supernaturals was the most flat, boring slog of a haunted house book that I’ve ever forced myself through. Still, up until the very end, I was going to give three stars. “Not for me, but not necessarily bad either”. Then we hit the ‘big reveal’, and I just got irritated.
Okay, so, look, I’m not a writer. Never claimed to be one. But common sense would tell me that when you’re writing a haunted house horror novel, you don’t just badly try to mash Hell House and The Haunting of Hill house together and pretend you wrote anything original. Because that’s what The Supernaturals is, in my opinion. When the pieces all came together for The Supernaturals, my mouth dropped open and I stared aghast at the page. This was… this was Hell House’s ending, with a dash of The Haunting of HIll House as topping. Not it’s exact ending, mind you. Not saying Golemon plagiarized it. But it’s like buying a pair of knock-off Nikes. Yeah, they might look great, but soon you realize they’re just a pale imitation and soon you have blisters and your feet hurt, and you realize you should have saved up for the real things.
It’s interesting, because I just finished my second read of the third book in the Newsflesh Trilogy. Blackout isn’t, by any means, a great book. It’s definitely the weakest of the trilogy. Rather mediocre, all in all. But, it’s delivered in such a way that keeps your attention on it. You can feel the tension rise as things get revealed. You care for the characters – even the side ones that are barely in it. The presentation more than makes up for the somewhat weak story. But in The Supernaturals, David L. Golemon takes the bones of a great story (if you ignore that ending), and presents it in such a flat, monotone way that you have to force yourself to turn the page.
And I still have to read the second one.
Maybe it’ll be better?
Sweet baby Cthulhu, I hope so.