Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Spotlight: The Haunting Season by Michelle Muto

Bonjour Beardies,

Yesterday, as you all know, The Bearded Scribe hosted a stop on a Blog Tour for Michelle Muto's title, The Haunting Season. Today I will be digging a little deeper into this Paranormal Fantasy, highlighting specific strengths of the author—strengths that writers should consider emulating in their own stories.




Premise:
Be careful what you let in...
That's what the ghost of Jess's grandmother had told her before she stopped seeing it. But after the death of her father, and not being able to see his ghost—or any, for that matter...at least not anymore—Jess decides the opportunity to be part of a paranormal experiment might just bring back her ability. It wouldn't bring back her father, but at least she'd be able to say goodbye to him, in a way, something she was unable to do before his death.

Against her mother's pleading, Jess decides to take part in the experiment. She travels to Savannah, Georgia to the notoriously-haunted Siler House—a house that has stood vacant for years—to join three others and Dr. Brandt, the parapsychologist running the experiment. Their presence at the infamous Siler House has resurrected a dark evil that threatens to claim them, and they soon realize some houses are meant to stay empty.

Gems for Writers:
Characterization. Muto does an outstanding job describing all the characters—alive and dead—and maintaining the characterization throughout the story. In addition, each character has a distinct personality—concrete and seeming to come to life straight from the page.

Supernatural Originality. While the abilities of the four main characters are not necessarily unique in and of themselves, the combination of the abilities and the author's research and thought behind the pairings was obvious. Muto does a wonderful job with making the abilities believable, too, as they all have limitations—both physical and mental.

Believable History. Although the physicality of Siler House was inspired from a real place (The Sorrel-Weed House), the historical plot behind the haunting of Siler House is completely fictional and of Muto's own creation. Fictional though it may be, there's something spooky behind the haunted tragedy of Siler House; its darkness and believability leave a chill in the reader long after the last page is turned.

Rating:

Conclusion:
This title was well-written, despite some needed editing for common (but minor) grammar mistakes. The sexually explicit scene ruined the flow for me; and although the author kept building toward it, I think the story would have benefited more from this act being merely alluded to and not actually described in graphic detail. Other than that, the story structure was well-organized and masterfully crafted. The world in which it is set—reality-inspired, yet so fantastically eerie—was impeccably built. The Siler House and its grounds came to life, the characters and their many personality quirks shined, and the story was terrifyingly gripping. I would definitely recommend this to all my readers (at least the ones who are 17 and up).

Écrire souvent, bien écrire, et écrire avec bonheur,



***The Haunting Season (2012) by Michelle Muto is published and copyright Autumn Hill Press. It is available in stores, online (see above), and at your local public library.
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