Saturday, October 15, 2011
Review of The Spooky chronicles: The Crooked Man by Kevin Ranson
Published: May 2011
A child on his death bed is visited by a mysterious "crooked man" who returns him to the land of the living. Upon returning, the young boy realizes that his mother was taken in his place and that he must endure his new life as a "dead" boy.
"At the age of six, the pale little boy became ill, and although he was already small and thin, he grew smaller and thinner still. His skin turned a pallid gray, but the smile never left his face and his mother never left his side. When he turned seven, the tumor in his chest finally overtook his heart, and he died.
"It is whispered that everyone dies alone. But the pale little boy wasn’t alone when he died, and on the other side, he met a crooked man with a crooked stick who pointed at the dead little boy with a crooked finger. The dead little boy opened his eyes only to find those of his mother closed. Somehow he knew that his mother had taken his place and that the crooked man had caused it; what he didn't know was why."
This was an interesting one to read and review. First off, I wouldn't classify this as a typical zombie book. Spooky is a zombie in the sense that he's the walking dead, but other than that he's nothing like a zombie. He grows, speaks, thinks, and feels. And he is not consumed by the desire to feed on human flesh. This is however, a nice way to introduce younger readers to the horror genre as it really is more creepy than scary. No blood or guts, but still a darker story.
What makes this hard to read is that the author's strength is also his weakness. Ranson does an amazing job with the narration. He has a wonderful ability to describe what is happening and Spooky is an interesting enough character to keep you ready.
The narration is also the downfall. Or more specifically the lack of dialogue. Even when there is an opportunity to reveal more of Spooky's world, such as when he is having his tarot cards read, everything is through narration. It was a little tiring simply being told everything through Spooky, instead of hearing and seeing it. This does get better towards the end, but I wish it had been built in throughout the story. I think it would have helped me experience the story better.