What do you think of when you think of high school reunions? Bad music, bad food, and hazy memories blurred by alcohol? Well, what if instead of these things you get to encounter mind-altering illusions that you have no control over? Such is the case for Amber, Drew, and Trevor, the main characters in Hawes and Wilson’s fictitious tale of paranormal terror and mystery, Ghost Trackers.
We open the book by being introduced to Amber, Drew, and Trevor, three friends that have been reunited after many years through their 15 year high school reunion. Amber convinces the two men to attend the reunion after speaking with their old pseudo friend Greg, who hung around the fringes of their friendship during their high school years. Surprised to hear from him, Amber is taken aback by his suggestion to attend the reunion, but finds herself oddly compelled to make Drew and Trevor go. Odd feelings are nothing new to Amber, however, as she suffers from persistent nightmares that lead her to placate her existence via prescription drugs. Additionally, all three friends share another secret: they all have large portions of their memories from high school missing. Amateur ghost hunters at the time, they spent much of their time chasing down tales of the paranormal. Their most spectacular case involved a local home that was long rumored to be filled with negative energy. When the three were younger, the man living there killed his wife and two children in a night of delusional horror. Many years later when they were in high school, they entered the house to investigate the suspected hauntings, yet all they remembered was ending up on the front lawn with minor burns as the home burned to the ground in front of them. Now, as they attend the reunion weekend and attempt to piece together their pasts, they are shocked to find themselves at the scenes of two deaths of their classmates. Who will wind up dead next? Is there something more to Greg? Will they ever get their memories back?
As a disclaimer I have to say I’m not all that familiar with the paranormal and the genre that surrounds it, but I did find this book both interesting and enlightening. I’ve never really had an opinion of the subject of ghosts; that is to say that I’ve always thought that they could exist, but I had yet to see one or definitively know that one was there. The closest I’ve been was in my old apartment, before I moved in with Kim, that definitely had something odd going on. I used to catch odd motions out of the corner of my eye when I was alone, and I often felt a chill in the bathroom when I was doing laundry. As a man of science myself, I didn’t jump to conclusions. I prefer hard evidence and data over conjecture. However, that aside, I learned a bit about how paranormal activities work with this story. You can tell that the writers have years of experience in investigating these matters, and they draw on this experience to create a good story. Despite this, I sometimes felt that the plot dragged slightly. I felt at times that the authors attempted to mold the story around a defined set of psychotic states that the different characters experience. These psychotic states were amazingly well written, and they made my hair stand on end. However, the bridging plot between these series sometimes seemed a bit thin and not as well written as the smaller sub-stories.
Apart from this detraction, I have to commend the authors on a great job creativity-wise. The idea of psychotic mind control is not new, yet they put a fresh spin on the tale that made it seem real, like it could happen to any vulnerable person out to enjoy their 15th high school reunion. The crisp details of the delusions and the crazed actions of the characters in them definitely drew me in. If you enjoy a good paranormal tale that will leave you doubting your own imagination, look no further than this book!
3 out of 5 Stars
Gallery Books (2011)
Paperback 384 pages
Special thanks to Melissa at Gallery Books for sending over my review copy!
One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a copy of Ghost Trackers by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson. For your chance to win simply leave a comment in the thread below. Comments will be accepted through midnight of Tuesday, November 29, 2011. Winner will be picked at random and announced on Wednesday, November 30, 2011. Giveaway open to residents of US and Canada only. Good luck!