‘I try to get it straight in my head: I am descending down a flight of stairs into a subterranean passage, lit only by a single flickering taper, to meet unknown dangers in pursuit of a cursed crucifix. If I had my iPhone on me I’d so be tweeting right now!’
Only two things clear my reading schedules and one of those is a free book (check out http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00B13A8U2 (or for American users http://www.amazon.com/Famous-Haunts-ebook/dp/B00B13A8U2/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358365278&sr=1-2&keywords=famous+haunts ) , for your free edition if you have a Kindle or Kindle app on any other device, this offer is only lasting three days though so be quick ), so taking precedence over Dickens, Márquez et al comes first time novelist Angelica White.
I met Miss W. once and we got on as well as people who don’t know each other but share a mutual interest get on, which I feel I must add as a point of integrity. However this one meeting is balanced out by the fact that the genre of this book is chick lit.
But don’t misunderstand the term as I did, to my eyes I assumed it would be a love story featuring man bashing, wine, diets and shopping, but this is no generic love story as the Protagonist Ellie seeks a man, this is something altogether more fun and witty. I also got that ‘Cosy Crime’ type relaxed and playful vibe that seems to offhandedly draw you in and then makes it a pleasure to carry on reading.
The story centres on Ellie Fox, an implicit believer in the supernatural and a would be ghost hunter (she has her own kit) who takes a job at the eminent ghost hunting TV show Famous Haunts and is the quintessential that classic figure of a star struck lady with a romantisiced view of TV production,. However things aren’t what they seem with a back stage crew that actually contrive the haunting effects (can you believe it?!) and secrets to be uncovered in the remote village of Pendle, Ellie has her work cut out to find out what’s going on.
On letting my eyes scrutinize the first page, I was immediately set at ease and drawn in by Ellie’s casual voice as she sets up the story and gives the necessary character background. Her down to earth nature makes her a very likeable character and sets you actually caring for her from the beginning. There is a natural feel to the character, a connection that never deviates from wanting our heroine to succeed.
Ellie is a very likeable character, her ditzyness is integral to the plot allowing her to believe all the things going on and to take the optimistic approach to everything around her. It made it impossible for me not to like her thought processes and logic which sometimes take astonishing leaps of (charming) naivety and keep the story flowing. Ellie’s various little digressions also help establish a strong character, her infectious wonder and relentless optimism at everything only blunted when things feel a bit dangerous.
There is a constant threat and actualisation of gentle comedy throughout that made me smile, the raucous visual comedy wobbles from the slapstick to the cringeworthy ,but is firmly rooted in a believable context. This helps keep the pace up and teases out the build up and helps carry momentum to the humourously tense situations, everything is so dramatic yet played in an understated way.
It’s a great send up of ghost ‘reality’ shows, all the classic cliché elements of a horror story are here but played for laughs, not cheaply though, there is a finesse to the way they are done, its light entertainment done with a bit of class and it flows well and keeps a good pace.
Overall it’s unashamed chick lit but enjoyable, Satisfying is the word I would use, with a varied use of language and some nice turns of phrase and one liners, , A great satire o,f not just the back of house TV production but the whole ‘reality’ genre not to mention the types of people who fall for these ludicrously blatant ideas, wonderfully un-PC, and has a nice contrast between old and very modern. This is a bargain purchase so what’s stopping you?