New Reviews

James Avonleigh ‘Reiko: A Japanese Ghost Story’ Review


Written by: Drake Morgan

The description of this novel drew me in immediately. Five high school friends in a remote village in Japan all die within a two week period. There is never any explanation for their mysterious deaths. Four years later, a British paranormal researcher begins to delve into the events. He uncovers a dark, unspoken side of Japanese culture that threatens to destroy him.

I was hooked from the opening line. “Japanese ghosts are different. Your ghosts would not feel at home here.” This sets the stage for a fascinating look at ghosts from a non-western perspective. Avonleigh does an excellent job of transporting us into a culture caught between two worlds. In post-World War II Japan, western influences dominate. But there is still the East tugging at the shadows and inserting its presence into Tokyo’s ever-present flashing neon. The hushed whispers surrounding the village of Izumi are laced with western references to Hell as well as Buddhism and Shintoism. The cultural juxtapositions are jarring and create a sense of tension before our protagonist James ever sets foot in the village. The story builds to a frightening climax that will leave you disturbed for some time after.

Reiko: A Japanese Ghost Story takes the reader outside the traditional horror boundaries. From the Gothic literary tradition to Stephen King, horror is dominated by the West. Avonleigh reminds us that there is a big world out there and it has its share of darkness as well. While Avonleigh’s characters are a bit weak at times, it’s a minor flaw in this one.

Order Reiko right here, as of this posting, it’s free of charge!

Rating: 4/5

About The Overseer (1669 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

1 Comment on James Avonleigh ‘Reiko: A Japanese Ghost Story’ Review

  1. I’ve seen a number of Japanese movies about ghosts, and many of them are scarier than Western ghost movies. It’s as if the Japanese ghosts have no rules or rationale, but simply want to kill everyone. Or maybe the Japanese just know how to make a Horror movie. Your review was fascinating, and I really enjoyed reading it! 🙂


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