Novelette Review of The Haunt by L. Marshall James

The Hauntby L. Marshall James
on June 16, 2015
Pages: 38
Format: eBook

Brad’s life is a simple one. When he’s not working at a nearby junk yard, he’s probably drinking alone at home. However, all is not well. In the shadows and in the recesses of his mind, something is stirring.

*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*

“The Haunt” by L. Marshall James is a 38 page novelette about a man whose behavior comes back to haunt him, literally. Brad, the main character, is not a likable character. He deserves what happens to him to an extent. He’s a foul-mouthed, thieving drunk. Still, on some level, I felt sorry for him. I thought the author did a good job of characterization, considering the short length of the story, but there was a lot of missing information. I didn’t even have an idea of if he was young, middle-aged, or old.

I liked how the author got right to the problem without a lot of set-up. It’s a quick read, not only because of the length but because it doesn’t mill around.

The setting was interesting. I had never read a book before with the main character working in an auto junkyard. However, there isn’t much detail beyond his work and home. I didn’t know what city he was in or anything. To some readers, that might not matter much. To others who have to know all those details, it would be frustrating because the author didn’t waste time on things that didn’t affect the main character directly. As I said, some readers will like that while others will not.

Overall, I felt this was a well-written piece. The horror elements were pretty standard. I wasn’t scared because it was obvious what was going to happen. I would have liked Brad to have been in more danger.

I was confused for a minute near the end. But, once I had all the pieces, everything made perfect sense. So, although I wasn’t scared, I enjoyed reading this story because it had an interesting plot twist.

I would recommend this story to readers who want a short piece to read with some surprises. I give “The Haunt” four stars for pacing, writing style, and plot. If it were revised, I think this story would be best left as a novelette or novella, with a few setting and character details added, and maybe some more direct attacks on Brad. This is not to imply that it needs to be revised, but I like to offer suggestions in case an author chooses to do so later on down the road.

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