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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Speed Dating With the Dead by Scott Nicholson

Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!

Halloween is closing in fast this year.  In fact, it seems like the days are just whizzing by paying no mind to the fact that we'd like it to slow down so we can enjoy a bit of the season (do you hear that Mother Nature?).  The weather is cool and crisp with the beautiful leaves changing color all around...well not down here since the high is suppose to be 80+ today with a 20% chance of showers making it feel like summer instead of fall (*grumble*), but I'm sure it's fall weather somewhere in the world and my imagination is taking me there. 

Though we read books of all genres and story lines throughout the year, it is a custom adopted by many bloggers to feature a few more books on the spooky side of things during the month of October, and I for one am glad!  I love books from all walks of life (as can be seen by the ever changing variety posted here) but it's fun to dial in a little more Halloween-ish fun sometimes, you know?  In fact, today's post turns the dial directly to....HORROR.  Do you have the lights on?  Doors secured?  Ready for today's post?  Here we go.  Today's book of choice is....

Speed Dating With the Dead

There is a warning that I must pass along not only due to the horror factor and storyline, but the content. THIS IS NOT FOR YOUNG READERS. There is foul language. There are instances of sexual content, more explicit than not. There is serious darkness explored (in a fictitious manner of course) but with enough scare power to frighten those with an over active imagination.  In short...if you're looking for a good scare and not afraid of a bit of gore and glimpses under the sheets, this just might be the one for you.

Are you ready for a hunt?  How about a GHOST hunt?  *raises hand*  Who ya gonna call?  Ghost…wait, no…not them, although the paranormal hunters in this tale would certainly love it if they could step in and lend a hand I’m sure.  Wayne Wilson (aka The Digger) and the rest of the SSI team are going on a little adventure.  Their business?  Ghosts, hauntings, and the paranormal.  Current location for investigation…the White Horse Inn…home of supernatural activity to boot whether the staff knows it or not.  You see, the inn has seen better days and in lieu of bringing their high end status up to par, they are cashing in on their own ghastly history and reaping (pardon the pun) the rewards, hence Mr. Wilson and his well paying ghost seeking guests.  They seek to investigate at least three of the more infamous hauntings during their current stay.  Sounds like the perfect plan, right?  Yes and no.

While paranormal encounters abound, there is a lot more than ghosts calling this place home.  Try demons… O_O ….as in plural and the big, unfriendly, I-want-your-soul kind and making contact with the hotels newest guests is just the first thing on their to-do list, if you know what I mean.  So….welcome to the White Horse Inn.  Come in, stay awhile; before long you won’t want to leave…or be able to… (muwhahahahahaha)

Let’s see…time for a storyline check list.  We've got a couple that promised they'd be together til death do us part (and then some). A hotel that trumps the one in the infamous The Shining ten times over in the haunts and ruthlessness department. Temptation around every corner in both physical and emotional forms.  A few disbelievers about to have a come-to-ghosty meeting sure to change their paranormal outlook.  Plus, a twist of an ending you won't see coming…in fact, quite a few characters don't see it coming either as something in the hotel keeps picking them off.  Yep, I’d say this one is playing with a full deck of scary. 

I have to say this is exactly the reason that I don't necessarily count an author out just because I don't fall in love with their first book, or rather the first book that I read written by them. Sometimes one works well for some readers while another doesn't quite hit the mark…and that’s okay, we all have different tastes and that’s part of what makes sharing the experience that much more interesting.  While I wouldn't say I loved this one (personally could have done without a scene or two), I certainly liked it quite a bit as the storyline really grabs your attention.  Seriously!  After I read through a particular scene before going to bed the one night (there’s a guy reading cards and something unexpected happens with the deck that has to do with the image of a serpent…don’t want to ruin it for you), I actually woke up from a dream (nightmare?  Not sure…don’t remember now…) that it managed to make its way into… ~shudders~…needless to say, not a common occurrence. 

We’ve talked storyline, but let’s talk characters for a moment.  The cast of characters enhanced the story rather well, in fact several of the supporting characters shine through more vibrantly and memorably than a few of the main ones.  Kendra Wilson, the Digger’s daughter nicknamed Buttercup (from The Princess Bride), plays a key role (of which you learn more about later on in the novel), but her very nature…smartaleck, artsy girl ready to kick butt if someone looks at her the wrong way or melt (inwardly) over Cody McKenzie, Mr. “Future of Horror” himself…brings her to life in a more 3 dimensional way.  She has real life troubles, a dad focused on reconnecting with the past and missing what is right in front of him and a desire to establish herself apart from her dad’s image…all making her easy to connect to. 

On the other end of the spectrum (in more ways than one), we have quite a few others making their presence known.  The hotel manager, Janey Mays, though living and breathing (for now..hehe) is dishonest and heartless to the core.  Ann Vandooren and her sidekick Duncan are out to disprove Wilson and his paranormal findings but end up inviting in a bit more trouble than they can handle.  Then of course we have the otherworldly characters that come alive in their various forms as they seek to claim what they feel is rightfully theirs.  From uber creepy to tantalizing in no time flat, the demons (and one other being…which shall remain nameless unless you read the tale) make their mark every time and leave you with an impression you won’t soon forget.

My only other word of critique is in regards to the title.  Title selection can make or break a book sometimes, or at the very least changes the audience size reached.  When I read the title of this book, I can honestly say had the cover art NOT been shown with it, I might not have given it a second glance.  I know, bad reader bad reader, but you know you’ve all done it before.  If you are reading through a list of titles, something has to grab your attention and yeah, this one doesn’t quite reach me...lucky for me, the visual stimulation was there along with an intriguing teaser to take me past my first glance impression and pull me in for what was a rather enjoyable read.  In summary…this book definitely raises the creep factor many notches, in fact you'll definitely want to leave the lights while reading it. The perfect book for the Halloween season or any other time you are looking for a good scare.

EBook for review received from author Scott Nicholson.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title and his complete bibliography, check out his website or follow along on Twitter.  Don’t forget he is still making the rounds in the blogosphere on his current tour (one stop was right here at the site) where you have a chance to win 1 of 20 Kindle DXs so be sure to check it out!

Until next time…happy reading.


VickyTinky said...

Count me in please!


Gina said...

Umm...just to clarify, THIS POST is NOT the one for the contest....gotta enter over at this one... ^_^

Author Scott Nicholson said...

Thanks, Gina, I think this is my favorite cover of the all the ones Neil Jackson of Ghostwriter Publications has done for me!


Horror Books said...

Awww I missed the blog tour by a day. Still, I wanted to leave a comment and this post seemed like the one to do it in.

"Yep, I'd say this one is playing with a full deck of scary"

I love that line. I can't tell you why but it struck me -- like some of the lines from Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- just right like this line from Spike (a vampire):

"... you've got people... billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs."

I agree that the title didn't appeal to me -- but finding out what Speed Dating with the Dead was about put the story near the top of my to-read pile.

Greg "The Undead Rat" Fisher

Gina said...

author Scott Nicholson: I can see's really good and fits the story nicely.

Horror Books: Too bad on the blog tour miss, but thanks for the comment! I remember that line from the show...always made me laugh and definitely memorable. Happy reading!

Margay Leah Justice said...

Great post! I like the cover of this book, too - love ghost hunting stories!


Sugarbeat said...

Great Post! Must check this book out!


hi (no ghosts here.)

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