By Michael Clark
The Patience of a Dead Man
By Michael Clark
There are a lot of great ghost stories out there. I’ve found a few of those this year. The Patience of a Dead Man is the first book in a trilogy where our protagonist, Tim, and his real-estate-agent-turned girlfriend, Holly, uncover some hidden truths on the house that Tim is trying to flip.
I loved this book. It’s a great New England ghost tale; and for a local to that area, I find all the dread and eerie atmospheres to be comforting. The scenes that creeped me out the most involved our antagonist – the nameless ghost woman. The more Tim and Holly learned about her, the more uncomfortable I felt. Michael Clark sucked me into his haunted house story fairly quickly, too, by not conforming to conventional ghost tropes. For example, this ghost smells of rotting meat with a constant swarm of flies that never leave her.
She is everything you’d soil your pants over.
The secret she’s hidden that she doesn’t want anyone to know is absolutely mind-boggling. Clark transitioned from present day (1970s) to the past (which were a few periods of time – the 1960s and mid-1800s) seamlessly. That can often be the biggest hindrance to a story that doesn’t stick to a linear storyline.
How we learn about the antagonist’s past is what I found to be one of the most well-crafted components of this story. You aren’t handed large chunks of information on a platter through narration. That’s not any fun for anyone. Where we get the good stuff is through recorded conversations and dialogue. It felt natural, the pacing was smooth, and at no point did it drag.
The only complaint I have about this book is the editing – grammatical and compositional errors. They weren’t issues that pulled me out of the story; however, they were noticeable enough that I believe the right editor would turn this story into a leaner and meaner ghost machine. If that does happen, I would see nothing wrong with this story. It’s why I did not rate this an A or 5 out of 5 stars.
Some scenes in this story stuck with more than others, and the one that stuck with me the most involves geese. You’ll know the one when you read it – it’s full of all the stuff my sick and twisted mind wants from any horror story.
Review by Patrick R. McDonough
I received a paperback from the author for review consideration.