Intriguing Observations ~ Blood-Curdling Scream Park
The Intriguing Observations series was created to gather some of the greatest supporters and bloggers to provide their own insight on all things creative both in their ventures and their techniques. This week on the guest series is paranormal horror author, Mark Tufo.
The Spirit Clearing is an interesting horror novel with a surprising twist at the end. I read the novel in the span of an evening, and it was definitely a read that made me want to know what happens next.
The strongest aspect of the Spirit Clearing was the overall plot of the novel. The pacing of the novel- stretching it over the span of multiple years- often times seemed unnecessary, but the overall plot kept the tension at a compelling level.
Along with the pacing problems, the only other detractor from the overall coherence and success of the book was the main character. Mike Talbot has an interesting ability, in that he can see things that aren’t there as well as auras, however he often does not react to situations in a realistic manner. When he first discovers his special ability, he seems to accept this ability without much questioning. This cannot be confused with coming to terms with his new ability, as his response is to avoid it as much as possible, but throughout the beginning chapters of the novel he is not at all concerned about the results of the car accident, his thoughts being more focused on his gradual alienation from those who surround him.
An additional characteristic of the main character, which made me feel incredibly removed from him, is his lack of agency. As a reader, I should be feeling for the main character, and even if I can’t personally understand his motivation or responses, they should feel like they fit in with the overall character. In some situations, Mike was very questioning, almost pushy, yet in others he was very accepting of everything that went on around him. As the book progresses, things start to get stranger and more terrifying, and Mike never seems to be fazed by these events. Mike’s thoughts and his reactions seem to be completely disconnected from any situation he finds himself in. For example, in a situation where he is hearing unexplainable noises, his thoughts indicate a level of fear that his actions don’t carry out.
However, after finishing the book, I began to wonder whether this disconnect from his emotions, the people around him, and his overall environment were conscious choices on the part of the author. Without ruining the twist ending (which was completely unexpected), this disconnect and lack of agency made sense.
Overall, I would give this book a 4 out of 5.
About the Author:
Mark Tufo was born in Boston Massachusetts. He attended UMASS Amherst where he obtained a BA and later joined the US Marine Corp. He was stationed in Parris Island SC, Twenty Nine Palms CA and Kaneohe Bay Hawaii. After his tour he went into the Human Resources field with a worldwide financial institution and has gone back to college at CTU to complete his masters.
He has written the Indian Hill trilogy with the first Indian Hill - Encounters being published for the Amazon Kindle in July 2009. He has since written the Zombie Fallout series and is working on a new zombie book.
He lives in Maine with his wife, three kids and two English bulldogs.
Visit him at www.marktufo.com or http://zombiefallout.blogspot.com/ or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mark-Tufo/133954330009843 for news on his next two installments of the Indian Hill trilogy and upcoming installments of the Zombie Fallout series.