A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel - Paul Tremblay

I enjoyed this novel of possession/psychological horror/reality television, but I didn't out and out love it. It's almost impossible to tell you why without spoilers, but I'll try. 

 

Here's what I liked the most:

-the shout outs to other authors in the dark fiction genre. I'm sure I didn't pick up on them all, but I love being made to feel like I'm in on something;

-the references to other characters in dark fiction classics-one of which is glaringly obvious, and since she was a most fascinating character to me in her first appearance, she was fascinating to me in this one too;

-the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle references to reality television and what it does, not only to viewers but to those being filmed.

 

 

What I did not like was:

-the number of twists at the end. The first one I lurved and actually did the literary version of a double-take when I read it. The second one, I did like but it felt over the top to me. (Though it really cemented the shout out to that fascinating character I mentioned above.)

(show spoiler)

-the slow pacing at the beginning. I came close to setting aside the book at one point.

-The blog posts. I can't get into any depth here for fear of spoilers-but I can say that the blog posts didn't bother me until the end-in regards to these posts-it didn't ring true for me.

-nothing truly original was brought to the genre of dark fiction.

 

Overall, I enjoyed this story-mostly because I was always kept guessing and that doesn't happen often enough. I thought the characterization of the two sisters was well done, and their relationship was interesting. I' m glad that I read this book, and I think that for those unfamiliar with decades of dark fiction, it may prove to be a great read. For those readers that have been reading horror and dark fiction for years, it may prove to be just a good read and there's nothing wrong with that.