This Ghosting Tide
Bad Moon Books
Review by Nickolas Cook
As much as I love Clark’s usual brand of unique fiction I have to admit I didn’t care much for his newest selection from the folks over at Bad Moon Books.
This Ghosting Tide tells the story of a weirdly diverse band of ghost hunters brought together by an eccentric and very rich man named Byron and his strangely human like monkey, Polidori (yes, you read that right all you fans of English poetry). They’re on a quest to prove the existence of a paranormal world beyond our own. Included in this merry band of misfits is Fletcher, a fat balding huckster playing the rich man for all he’s worth, Kit, the nonbeliever who needs money so badly he’s willing to get into coffins with dead people to get it, and Ashara, a strong willed woman helping to produce the material they hope to turn into a reality show for television.
After a fairly funny comedic opening to introduce the main characters, they’re approached by Ruth and her little sister Penny. The girls tip them off to an extraordinary daily event that happens near their home that they call The Ghosting Tide. Our intrepid ghost hunters rush to the scene just in time to be overwhelmed by a supernatural wave of pure evil that leaves them shaken. From there, the story gets a little … well … weird.
Sounds like a great little story, right? So why didn’t it strike a chord with me?
First and foremost, the narrative was jarring as hell. Clark makes a lot of assumptions to get the story moving along and doesn’t take much time to make them believable. These jumps in logic truly detract from the story and left me wishing he’d slow it down a bit and build some suspense. Now I know that’s hard to do in a wee book such as this (somewhere around 30K words, would be my guess), but if the story demands more room, give it the room, I say. Trying to cram too much into such a small area is just asking for criticism. And to me that’s an unforgivable writing sin.
Another thing that I didn’t care for much is that I got the sense Clark was sort of making sport of those who do believe in the supernatural. This may have been unintentional on his part (he was after all part of a now famous UK show called Winter Chills, a reality tv show about the paranormal) and can perhaps be forgiven. But it left me feeling letdown overall by his attitude towards the things that go bump in the night.
Bottom line: this is probably for Simon Clark completists only. For those who aren’t, save your money; Bad Moon Books puts out much better chap books than this one on a regular basis.