Scott Nicholson ‘Speed Dating with the Dead’ Review
Written by: Wesley Thomas
This novel will grip you right from the get-go! You have the protagonist Wayne ‘Digger’ Wilson who has lost his wife, and is now travelling around with his daughter, hosting paranormal events. But when he gets his latest job at the White Horse Inn things start to get awry, and given that Digger has a history with this hotel, that is the last thing he needs.
You have a well written pace that builds up the tension and suspenseful wonderfully. The paranormal workers are setting up the technology to start communing with the dead, while we witness some unexplainable phenomenon. We have the perfect mix of short to long scenes, moderately disturbing to terrifying moments, and little character knowledge leading to full exposure of their agendas and reasons for coming to this conference. Clearly the writer wanted to keep us on our toes and feed us little by little, making us hunger for more.
You get the sense from the very beginning that something bad is going to happen. The depictions of the hotel, and strange coincidences. This makes the desire to read on only more intense. Chills pretty much come as standard with this book right from the first altercation with an otherworldly entity, with creepy moments that will leave you uneasy.
But to entertain us in between the parts of paralysing fear, we have some very brash and bold characters. The usual suspects consist of the kooky ones, annoying sceptics, believers, enthusiasts, scared ones, and tedious melodramatic ones. This clash of people provides humour, which we soon find out is nothing more than a decoy to catch us off-guard when something weird happens. The daughter of the host Wayne, Kendra, is a sceptic, but obviously she keeps that opinion to herself as that would be bad for business. She also has a passion for sketching, it is her security blanket. She carries it everywhere, along with pent up resentment at her father for his negligence. But she hides it behind sarcasm and mockery.
One thing I loved about this tale was the point to it all. It doesn’t detail random incidents just for our pleasure, there are several stories intertwined that are all equally interesting. In order to care about the story and reek gratification from it, we must care about the fate of the characters. Whether we wish harm upon them, or pray they survive the madness. This is most certainly achieved.
Not only are we on edge because of this foreboding mayhem, but we know for a fact that people who have come to the event are out to sabotage, and expose Digger as a fraud. Each person/s have come with their own plan, some honest, some not. One thing is for sure, you doubt that the deceitful people will be able to prove that the host is a fraud, especially when they cannot scientifically justify supernatural visits.
Nicholson can not only scare the life out of us, but he can amuse us with witty retorts and some excellent metaphors. He also includes some deeply moving and emotional moments to add another depth to this read, making for a deep and purposeful novel.
This book will make you re-examine everything you think you know about the paranormal; it is a supernatural game changer for the traditional rules of hauntings.
The conclusion to this can only be described as morbidly magnificent. All hell breaks loose, quite literally. The hotel becomes a circus of ghostly pandemonium where the paranormal hunters become the hunted. When the havoc began I could not put the book down, it was impossible, I had to know how everything would end, who would survive, not to mention other questions that force us to carry on until we can get closure.
TIP: Read this at night to get the full experience of Scott’s brilliant writing.
Overall, a breath-taking journey that will scare you, and lure you into several ongoing enigmas and compelling character pasts, all of which is told in terrific narrative. An absorbing account of frightful apparitions.
Good review Mr. Thomas. I have this book, but it’s been on my t.b.r. list for awhile. You may have changed my mind. I think I’ll be reading it much sooner now.
Thank you Lisa, it certainly is a great read!