Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Review of J.H. Glaze's THE SPIRIT BOX

As promised, here's my review of JH Glaze's The Spirit Box.

But first, let's give you the blurb copy to tempt you with a hint of what you'll find inside the pages:

When Walt Turner's mother died, he inherited her apartment and the antique shop below. After losing his job due to the treachery of a co-worker, The Spirit Box calls to him from the darkness of the shop with an offer of revenge. Lured by the promise of ultimate power and eternal life by the prisoner inside the box, Walt agrees to help it gather the final spirits it requires to return to human form.

John Hazard is investigating a series of murders and missing persons in this otherwise quiet town. His perceptions of reality are about to be altered in a life changing confrontation that will force him beyond the boundaries of darkness and ancient evil.

It is a spiraling descent into madness, where you may have everything you desire, if only you are willing to sacrifice all that you believe. When you look into The Spirit Box, be prepared to have more than your breath taken away.

What I Liked: 

The characterization of Walt and several of the supporting characters was a thing of beauty. Glaze masterfully created characters of death and longing in Walt and his female victims in particular.

Glaze's writing style had a sort of effortless, casual flow and made for a smooth, easy read that didn't draw attention to itself and never once screamed, "Hey, look at me! I'm the writer. I'm really cool, huh?" His prose made the book an enjoyable, comfortable read.

The Spirit Box itself is very cool. Sure, I got vibes of the Ark of the Covenant from it, but not so much that it pulled me out of the story. Besides, an evil Ark of the Covenant is a stroke of story genius, even if that wasn't Glaze's original inspiration.

Glaze's dialog flowed well. His characters felt like real people, not mouthpieces for the plot.

What I Didn't Like:

In spite of the selling point of the book (Book 1 of a John Hazzard series), I really felt like The Spirit Box was conceived as a stand-alone book that later became a venue for John Hazzard. The real protagonist of the book is Walt, not Hazzard. Hazard never really accomplishes much of anything in the book, it seems to me. If the book is really to be sold as Book 1 of a series, I'd suggest reworking the narrative to focus more on Hazzard and have him really matter to the plot in some genuine way.

I've been accused to turning the name Stephen King into a verb, and I'll gladly do so here again.

Stephen King: (v) to build a believable world filled with fun, fleshed out characters and then rush the ending in an effort to finish the book

In this sense of the word, I feel that Glaze Stephen Kinged the ending to The Spirit Box. All these wonderful characters got shortchanged by a rushed and jumbled ending. It felt a bit like an episode of the Friday the 13th TV series in that sense.

The Summary:

The Ghost Box has a promising concept that intrigues and builds excitement on every level a story should -- at least until the last two chapters. As a book about a sad, lonely man who suddenly gains great supernatural power that corrupts absolutely (as the saying goes), the story succeeds and excels. However, as Dresden-esque paranormal series thriller, it falls short, primarily because John Hazzard himself seems so amazingly periphery to the book and the plot.

Do I recommend it? Yes. Highly. Glaze's prose makes the book a great, fun read that keeps a reader riveted. If you like paranormal thrillers that paint the edges with a touch of horror, you'll really dig it.

Do I recommend it with reservations? Yes. Read it for the Walt Turner story, and you'll love it, but I would have preferred to see John Hazzard either written out or woven in more naturally to the outcome and story itself.

To purchase a copy of The Spirit Box in print or for Kindle, click here.