Goodreads Review: Chasing the Dead


Chasing the DeadChasing the Dead by Joe Schreiber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Chasing the Dead is a bit of a grab bag. It starts off with an appropriately mysterious meeting between a pair of children, moves to a busy mother’s innocuous day that we know is leading to trouble, and then begins a fast-paced thriller chase that keeps inching up the scare factor.

Then, about halfway through, it starts falling apart. It begins to introduce more overtly supernatural elements – which isn’t really a problem, in my view – and makes it more apparent that our plucky heroine is not dealing with an I Know What You Did Last Summer revenge scenario. Then we get mired in a twenty-page info dump that seems heavy-handed and ultimately useless; leaving certain aspects unrevealed would have been more satisfying in certain ways, I suspect. Worse, it doesn’t explain – or provide an adequate one – certain aspects of the mythology that seem as though they would be just a teensy bit more important. The final showdown is an unintelligible mess that left me rereading the pages multiple times, trying to visualize how the actions described actually occurred… I still don’t think it works the way it’s presented. Tack on a suitably sequel-baiting “dun-dun-daaaaaah!” epilogue and we’re there.

The writing is done well enough for the most part, but the writer’s over-reliance on metaphors – including one memorable line describing “a high, sick stench that defies metaphor” – starts to grate after a while; the constant present-tense, while doing an admirable job of keeping the tension level high, seems out of place in some sequences.

Overall, I don’t regret reading Chasing the Dead, but it’s not something I’d go out of my way to recommend or read again, either. It was an easy way to spend a few bathroom breaks, a quick read, offered a couple of cheap thrills, and will ultimately be forgotten.

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