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CBR4 #5: Haunted by James Herbert

I love a ghost story. I'm not especially picky about them, but I prefer those in which the ghost is a definable character rather than a mysterious evil force. While an anonymous angry spirit is certainly spooky, a specific vengeful ghost is much more interesting in my opinion.

James Herbert's Haunted is such a ghost story, though the actual existence of the ghost is in question most of the way through. Protagonist David Ash works for a London supernatural society as a sort of ghost hunter. Mostly, he travels around and tries to debunk hauntings with science, equipment, and modern thought. He's a notorious skeptic, even though he does work with people who do seem to have paranormal gifts.

When he gets invited out to Edbrook by the young Mariell siblings and their spinster aunt, he agrees to go without much thought. Since Ash believes very little in the spiritual realm, he doesn't think he has much to worry about. Unfortunately, when he arrives, he finds that everything is just the slightest bit off-kilter. He isn't sure whether the problem is with the house or with himself, but something is certainly wrong. The longer he stays, the more perilous circumstances become.

I liked the book quite a bit, and only partially figured out the twist ending. The character of David is fairly well-drawn, though the others are all a bit vague. However, the story is more about the plot, which churns along at a decent clip. All said, it's not a bad book--definitely entertaining--but nothing special.

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