You son of a bitch! You moved the headstones but you left the bodies, didn’t you? You left the bodies and you only moved the headstones! You only moved the headstones! Why!? Why!? …Alright, now that I’m done amusing myself, let’s spook Poltergeist, by Kat Richardson.
Harper Blaine was your average small-time PI until she died – for two minutes. Now she’s a Greywalker – walking the thin line between the living world and the paranormal realm. And she’s discovering that her new abilities are landing her all sorts of “strange” cases.
In the days leading up to Halloween, Harper’s been hired by a university research group that is attempting to create an artificial poltergeist. The head researcher suspects someone is faking the phenomena, but Harper’s investigation reveals something else entirely – they’ve succeeded. And when one of the group’s members is killed in a brutal and inexplicable fashion, Harper must determine whether the killer is the ghost itself, or someone all too human.
I have a confession to make, dear readers: I hate young children. Really, I can’t stand them. This is important information for you to know, because it deeply impacted my experience in reading this book.
I hate the character Brian. Hate, hate, hate. All my hate. Now, while I dislike children in real life, I can usually tolerate them in fiction. That’s because people usually write them as behaving like small adults rather than actual children. In a way, I suppose it’s a credit to the author to be able to write a child character that pisses me off as much as the real thing. But each scene Brian appeared in, a bunch of paragraphs were devoted to documenting in excruciating detail exactly how hair-tearingly annoying he was being, which completely disrupted my enjoyment of an otherwise good story. And then there was the scene where Harper has finally managed to trap the poltergeist in a bottle, and Brian is running around the room like a hyperactive little brat, and everyone is just humoring him and tolerating it, even though it’s totally obvious that he’s going to end up knocking over the bottle and fucking up all the hard work Harper just did to capture the poltergeist, and sure enough he does, and of course nobody can blame him for it because oh he’s just a kid and he didn’t know what he was doing, even though there’s a very good chance that innocents might be murdered by a force of implacable evil because he couldn’t sit still for two goddamned seconds… URGH!
I think I’m going to go re-read Coraline. Coraline never drove me crazy like this.
But never let it be said I am incapable of being impartial. After hitting myself in the head with a brick a couple of times and convincing myself the scenes with Brian were nothing more than a half-remembered nightmare, I determined that I liked the rest of the book. It’s your standard supernatural who-dunnit with an interesting setup and cast of colorful characters. An enjoyable read, unless you happen to have some personal hang-up that causes you to experience visceral revulsion whenever a certain character is in a scene.
Final Rating: 3/5