When I was about 12 years old my parents took my brother and me to Six Flags Over Texas. As there is roughly 7 years difference in our ages (he’s younger) he was only about 5 years old at the time. We went through the whole park at least twice. It was a lot smaller back in those days. After a short break, my brother noticed a long line of people waiting to get onto a ride that we’d somehow missed on our crisscrossing of the park.
It was called the Runaway Mine Train. At his urging, we joined this long line and talked amongst ourselves while we moved slowly up to the ride itself. There were signs that said things like, “No glasses,” “No one under 3 feet tall,” “Do not ride if you have a heart condition,” and most alarming of all; “Do not ride if you are pregnant.”
For some odd reason, this struck no one in my family as odd or even noteworthy. (In all honesty, we did not really notice the signs until after the ride had finished and we stood on wobbly legs that threatened to spill us onto the sidewalk.) We got on the ride at last. The attendant made sure that everyone was securely fastened in their seat and without any pause; we were off.
This ride started fast and then went so far beyond fast, that we felt that fast had been left behind. As we sped up the first mountain of track, this “runaway train” shot straight down with a speed that took your breath away.
Now you may be asking yourself, “What’s all this got to do with Michael West’s Spookhouse.”
Well, friends and neighbours, I’m glad you asked. Because this book is just like that ride all those years ago at Six Flags. Where I thought that the first book I read of his, Cinema of Shadows was fast paced (which it was) and moved at a cracking speed; Spook House reached a G-force of speed that took me right back to that white-knuckled runaway train in the park of my youth.
Spook House takes place in the town of Harmony Indiana. The same setting as Cinema of Shadows and we meet back up with Robby Miller, he of the “guilty and frightened” past. Where Robby had a more peripheral part to play in Shadows, he is a main player in Spookhouse.
It seems that on top of having a cinema that was evil, Harmony also has a haunted house on its outskirts. It seems that years ago, a man named Fuller practised dark arts there and while he lived, people had a bad habit of disappearing. Just like Sheri’s boyfriend Jeff, who goes into the old deserted Fuller house and never comes back. Something else does came back though and after Sheri Foster gets away from it, the thing goes after other prey.
Robby gets involved and he and Sheri go after the beast from the Fuller house. Unfortunately someone else has heard of this beast and he wants to find it as well. But this Irish Druid doesn’t want to kill it. Meanwhile, some of Robby’s friends are turning this real “haunted house” into a make-believe one for the Harmony trick-or-treaters to enjoy.
This race between good and evil is full of high-octane excitement and thrills. The action was so fast paced that I felt like my hair was going to fly back from my e-book (similar to the old Memorex commercial with the stereo speakers) and that if I didn’t hold tightly to the arms of my chair, I would be flung off.
By the time I’d reached the story’s climax, I felt almost as weak and wobbly as I did all those years ago at the end of that runaway mine train ride.
I have now read two of Mr West’s books and I’ve found that the first one was no accident; this man isn’t fooling around, he writes to get your heart pounding and your blood racing. I now have to wait for his next book on my list, The Wide Game to be delivered as it is not available on any e-book format.
I can’t wait.
A full 5 star book that I’d give a 6th star to just for the neck and neck race between good and evil.
- Cinema of Shadows by Michael West (mikesfilmtalk.com)
- Most Haunted Destinations in Canada – As Voted By You! (flightnetwork.com)
- Top 10 Haunted Cities in America – Rent.com | The Shared Wall (rent.com)
- Six Flags debuts SkyScreamer ride this weekend as 2013 season launches (bizbeatblog.dallasnews.com)