Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Spirit Box by JH Glaze

The Spirit Box by JH Glaze
Before I start the umpteenth attempt of this review I feel I need to share something about how I go about reviewing books.  I never read a blurb of a book I have to review, I never read other reviews about the book I am about to review. Why? Well because I don’t want others impressions to influence my own.  After I've written a review I will go and fetch the blurb from Goodreads or some such.  Ill then read it and after I have posted the review will I go and read other reviews.  That being said, I think it is a stupid method. I've never needed help more.
The Sprit Box is a vastly complicated book and as a reader you will soon find that your own life experience leads you to fill in the grey areas.  This is the part that makes the book truly terrifying.
There are four main characters in this book.  Walt, the owner of a box so ancient and evil it is indestructible.  The second main character is detective John Hazard, a small town cop who has a John Wayne complex with Navy Seal training to boot.  The Spirit Box, evil incarnate and lastly beer.  Yes. I wrote beer, no need to dust off the reading glasses. 
Remember I stated that a reader's own personal experience will guide and fill in the grey areas in this book.  For me, the constant need of Walt to open a beer, have a beer, buy a few beers is as much a characters as is Walt himself.  But more on the beer later, I know by now, you are thirsty!
This is in essence a story about need, greed, obsession and most of all perception.  The last of which gets thrown out of the window with such a bang that it left me reeling three quarters through the book!
Walt is not a good guy but he is human.  His need, his greed and obsessions are all very human in nature.  His inability to think his choices through is however the one thing that makes him into the neighbor, the colleague, the brother - you know Walt, I can guarantee you that.
Detective John Hazard is a Navy Seal trained police detective.  He falls over a cat, steps through rotten floor boards and fall face first into stacked decomposing bodies.  He is your neighbor, your colleague, your brother - by now you know the drill, you know a John.
What sets them apart is not their differences but their choices and again their perceptions of life.  Neither of the characters are written in very flattering terms. But the reader will find himself cringing when Walt makes another disastrous decision, rooting for Walt against all logic.  We are hard wired to root for the good guy, and you do, but you won't necessarily like Hazard. 
Author JH Glaze has written a horror that feeds off the readers most dark and secret file systems.  He had me laughing and rereading a section three times in the book, my first reaction was shocked incredulity, then shocked humor and lastly simply pure enjoyment of a situation that has some women in Walt's town up in arms, well not literally, but in very unflattering positions nonetheless.
The story itself, at times has a strong resemblance to the classic The Monkeys Paw by W W Jacobs where the monkeys paw is a talisman.  In this case the talisman would have to be beer.  Well at last elucidation of my reasoning.  Walt's single minded pursuit of alcohol gets him into situations where he experiences the full consequences of his decisions.  For me in this book, beer became the silent partner if you wish.
But what is so horrible and so utterly terrifying that it makes this book a must read for any one regardless of whether a horror genre enthusiast? I would say the basic simplicity of the story.  What would you do dear reader if you're presented with a box and told to not look inside?
I usually have a rating system of6/5 starts for a book that I loved, recommend and would gift to a friend.  But I am revising that.  I am giving this book a 7/5 start rating.  I found a book I loved, a book that scared me, that made me want to discuss it to death, and had me recommending it to friends.  So why the 7th star…  I walked through my house reading while I did chores cause I simply could not put it down. 

Author interview
My Question:
I loved the fact that several parts in the book were laugh out loud funny.  Di you plan these parts out or were they the result of the story writing itself and the absurdity of human desire that naturally lends itself to become humorous
Jeff’s Reply:
Throughout time, humor has been based in part on the misfortune of others.  How many times has something tragic happened, that after time became humorous when told as a story?  I just take small, believable things like that, twist them around, and then push them over the edge of outrageousness.  When people say they laughed out loud, I have accomplished my goal.
My Question:
John Hazard is portrayed as an excellent cop and an ex-US Marine.  Yet you have him falling over his feet three times in this book!  Is it important to you to keep your characters as real as possible?
Jeff’s Reply:
Yes, I want you to believe that John is real, not a super hero.  He falls over things when he becomes distracted.  Specifically when doing something he probably shouldn’t be.
My Question:
If you could write a story on one of the peripheral characters in the book, who would you write about and why?
Jeff’s Reply:
I have been asked to write expanded stories on John, Walts mother, big T, and Alron. The first story to be written concerning this book will be written about the baby. Three years in the future we will find that things did not go the way we thought and a new powerful threat will emerge. You may find this in book 5 of the Paranormal Adventures of John Hazard. Watch out!
My Question:
What is the wildest thing you’ve ever done and can share with us?
Jeff’s Reply:
The Jethro Tull concert at Kent State University in 1975. My friends had bought their tickets an didn't tell me until the day of the concert. I called my girlfriend and told her we were going, but when we arrived it was sold out. We really wanted to see that concert and I had an idea. I told my girlfriend to hold my wallet, then I when we got to the gate I acted like I had lost my wallet. I had 3 security guards helping me look for it in the crowd of people. I was wailing like it was the end of the world, hoping they would feel sorry for us and let us in. Suddenly I looked down and at my feet there were 2 tickets laying on the floor. I picked them up and proclaimed I found it. When we were going to our seats, we walked right past where my friends were sitting and I smiled and waved as their jaws dropped. Our seats turned out to be much better than theirs and we got in free!
My Question:
What is the one thing you would really like to do or accomplish still?
Jeff’s Reply:
I would like to travel away from the Americas and see more of the world. A series of best sellers would enable me to do that and visit fans and friends in various locations. Aside from that I want to make a difference, do something to leave a legacy for the future.
My Question:
Do you have any advice for other authors?
Jeff’s Reply:
 Write what you would love to read and don't worry what someone will say later, at least while you are writing it. This can free your imagination to be as creative as you want. Worry about opinions later!
My Question:
Anything else you would like to share with us?
Jeff’s reply:
So be it! Don't forget to read and repeat! ( Not really his reply to this question but it works )

 Next book in this series

Some very necessary links:

When you look into The Spirit Box, be prepared to have more than your breath taken away

1 comment:

  1. When Walt Turner's mother died, he inherited her apartment and the antique shop below. After losing his job due to the treachery of a co-worker, The Spirit Box calls to him from the darkness of the shop with an offer of revenge.

    Lured by the promise of ultimate power and eternal life by the prisoner inside the box, Walt agrees to help it gather the final spirits it requires to return to human form.

    John Hazard is investigating a series of murders and missing persons in this otherwise quiet town. His perceptions of reality are about to be altered in a life changing confrontation that will force him beyond the boundaries of darkness and ancient evil.

    It is a spiraling descent into madness, where you may have everything you desire, if only you are willing to sacrifice all that you believe.

    When you look into The Spirit Box, be prepared to have more than your breath taken away.

    Wanda Hart