Title: A Head Full of Ghosts
Author: Paul Tremblay
Publisher: William Morrow
Review by Lisa Vasquez
Synopsis: Merry Barette are your average suburban family – until mom and dad find themselves faced with a layoff, financial problems and Merry’s teenage sister Marjorie who seems to be having issues that go beyond your typical pubescent problems.
When Marjorie stops eating and starts sneaking into Merry’s room at night, things start taking a wild turn into a dark tale reminiscent of Amityville Horror and The Exorcist. When seeing a psychologist doesn’t help matters, Mr. Barette turns to his faith by seeking out the priest of their local parish.
This book was on Stephen King’s recommended list and he said it “scared the Hell out of him”. Being the horror addict that I am, Ihad to snag this book and read it! It should be noted that when the “King of Horror” says something scares him, you go in with high expectation. It is with a disappointed heart that I tell you that I was let down.
The writing was OK and the story held my interest but I kept getting this build-up only to be left hanging. There were a couple of scenes that were creepy, and there was of course the obligatory “creepy wall walking” scene, but overall? I just kept sighing and thinking, “C’mon with the scary stuff!”
I have to say that I’m not a huge fan of “live footage” movies or “reality” television, so when Paul Tremblay added this element, I felt like it gave the reader the feeling of being staged. Which is really what The Amityville story was even though I know that deep down inside all of us were hoping for proof of a real demonic entity. And we were all pretty pissed when it turned out to be a sham.
As much as I want to give the ending away and save you all the time it took to read the book, I won’t. Not because the ending is what you’ll expect (unless you’re like me and you figure things out right away) but because the book isn’t a bad read. If you get creeped out easily, you might even enjoy it. To the writer’s credit, there are a couple of thrills dispersed throughout but I personally found the main character, Merry, to be irritating and distracting. Tremblay adds the element of Merry’s blog which was typical of a freshman’s Facebook page timeline complete with annoying caps lock and excessive exclamation points.
Did it scare the Hell out of me? No. In fact, I read it before bed every night and slept just fine.
Could it be that I hyped this book up because Stephen King was scared to death by it? Most likely. And for that, I apologize to Peter Tremblay because that’s a whole lot of pressure.
SCORE: 3 out of 5 skulls
Lisa Vasquez currently resides in Houston, Tx with her Brady Bunch sized family and menagerie of pets. She works for the Horror Writer’s Association as the Publisher’s Liason, Burning Willow Press as the Head of the Graphic Design Department, has her own magazine debuting in November 2015 (Inked Muse Press Magazine) and moonlights by day as an Executive Assistant.
Editor-in-Chief – Inked Muse Press Magazine
Author of The Unsaintly Series
Publishers Liaison – Horror Writer’s Association
Creative Design Director – Burning Willow Press