Jason and Davey invite the new kid in town, Luke, to hang out and participate in a little game they call “Chasing Ghosts”. On a dare, they ride their bikes way out to the old Cobb place. The Cobb’s were a bunch of backwoods inbreds that either died off or left town. At least, that’s what the rumor was. What they find is a little more than trouble for trespassing. Near there, a band is setting up to play a party at a rented cabin. They were only looking to score some quick cash for playing and having a good time. When the intoxicated lead singer wanders off, the rest of the band are led into the woods to find him. They’ll wish they stayed back in the cabin.
When I look at Glenn Rolfe’s body of work through the last few years, it makes me smile to see such a talented writer mature in front of our very eyes. With Chasing Ghosts, that trend keeps climbing ever higher. With shades of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th, Rolfe also summons his inner-Laymon and, in my opinion, outdoes what his predecessor couldn’t do. Now before you start rounding up the villagers and handing out pitchforks and torches, let me explain. My complaint with Laymon is that his stories attempted to capture that B-movie magic and fun. The problem has always been that everything that I’ve read by him falls short. A good story, whether it be on the silver screen or written page, has to have good, realistic characters that you care about. To me, Laymon’s characters always felt like cardboard cutouts that became cannon fodder when they behaved unrealistically, their dialogue was borderline moronic, and the whole thing seemed hokie. With Chasing Ghosts, the characters feel like people that we already know facing problems that you can honestly believe – a missing son, infidelity, working stiffs looking to blow off some steam on the weekend. It’s all there and done very well by Rolfe. If I have a complaint with the story, it’s that the dialogue can be a tad confusing by his lack of identifying who is doing the talking from time to time. Again, it’s a minor complaint, but I do think it would help the story. Other than that, I dig it. Now, does he break any new ground with Chasing Ghosts? No. But, I don’t think that was ever his intent. What he does is deliver one kickass tale of backwoods bumpkins gone wrong.
4 Billy Bob teeth sunk into your leg out of 5
* This ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review
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