Friday, October 8, 2010

Book Review: The Haunting of Cambria by Richard Taylor

Mr. Black
I didn't pick this book up for any reason other than it was about Cambria. A place I've been going to ever since I was a kid and now am lucky enough to only live about a half hour away from. I'd seen this cover in the windows of the various book stores that have lived and died in Cambria, but never thought much about it. Finally, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to give it a try. It was relatively close to horror, so I figured what the hell.

The Rundown
Theo Parker has a pretty good life, making pretty good money. The only thing his life doesn't have is a woman to complete it. Enter Lily, the heir to the magazine empire where Theo works. Fast forward a bit and they decide to get married. Lily's dream has always been to move to Cambria and open up a bed and breakfast. Then just shortly after their brief honeymoon they get in a car accident. Theo finds himself slightly crippled, but alive, Lily dead.

Next we find Theo reluctantly taking over his ex-wife's dream of trying to make something out of the run down bed and breakfast. With the help of Eleanor, the property manager turned resident, they start. The only thing is, there is something haunting the premises.

Is it Worth Reading?
Once the "ghost" makes an appearance it's handled really well. The descriptions are great and the author conveys a sense of tension. The characters aren't anything you haven't seen before, especially the protagonist, Theo, who seems to be more of a testosterone-laden vessel for the author to live vicariously through.

The first half of the book maintains a good pace and remains interesting, but the reveal, while trying to be original seems as though it could have been handled in a more "creepy" way. I don't want to get too deep into the plot, this is a ghost story after all, right?

If you're a fan of ghost stories, hauntings, or Cambria you will probably like this book. The locales of Cambria are described in detail and if you've been there enough to be familiar with it, you can picture the characters walking down the streets, which in itself was fun for me. Without that element of nostalgia it doesn't bring much new to the classic ghost story, but that's not saying it's poorly written. Taylor's writing has a good rhythm and is able to easily bring you into his world. The characters, while not particularly engaging, aren't two dimensional either. This book is very middle-of-the-road for me personally.

That said, this would be a blast to read while staying in Cambria. It'll definitely make you wonder where the inspiration for Monroe House came from (I have a pretty good idea) and explore all Cambria has to offer, from it's unique restaurants, to it's historic cemeteries. If you do end up on highway 1 and find yourself passing through Cambria, just do me a favor and have a Monster Burger and Main Street Grill.



Richard Taylor said...

Thanks to Google your review of my novel THE HAUNTING OF CAMBRIA arrived in my mailbox probably minutes after you posted it. Judging by your comments (and the title of this blog) I think you would be more suited to my second novel RED MIST, about the murder of Marilyn Monroe and assassination of JFK. HAUNTING was meant to be light and fun even as it touches upon very serious issues. MIST is darker, faster, tougher, as is required by the subject matter.

Now, as to more important issues, yes, I love Monsterburgers from the Main Street Grill, along with fries or onion rings and a good ol' chocolate malt. Heartily recommended.



mr. black and mr. white said...

Thanks for the response Richard. I look forward to reading Red Mist. Definitely like the dark stuff. Thanks again.