Writing with Blood, Bone and Soul: A Recipe for a Thrilling NA Paranormal Novel with Author Michelle Muto
Melinda T. Falgoust
Blood. bone, and soul. These are the three ingredients that author Michelle Muto uses to flavor her new NA paranormal thriller The Haunting Season. It’s creepy with a healthy dose of crazy and a soupçon of Kubrick-King.
At the opening of the novel, the heroine Jess arrives at the foreboding Siler House with three other young folks to take part in an “experiment” within the walls of the imposing mansion. At first, Jess is taken with the Siler House, and looks forward to spending the summer there. “It was like spring break, only for paranormal freaks.” But, Jess has an ulterior motive. Unfortunately for her and her new friends, so does the house.
The Siler House plays an integral part in the plot of The Haunting Season. Film critic Roger Ebert perhaps said it best in his 1988 review of Mississippi Burning. In it, he states that even though “movies take place in towns…they rarely seem to live in them”. Like the film, Ms. Muto adeptly introduces her setting, the Siler House, as more than just a place for the story to take place. It is a tangible character within the story as Jess begins, almost from page one, to think of the house as a living entity. Is anyone else thinking Amityville Horror?
Yes, there are several nods to masters of the genre within the pages of The Haunting Season. Among them Jay Anson (The Amityville Horror) and speculative fiction author W.W. Jacobs (The Monkey’s Paw). Adroit readers will also pick up on the various points of homage paid to horror genius, Stephen King. (A personal shout-out to director Stanley Kubrick for making my senior class overnight retreat one from which I have never fully recovered. I mean, who goes on a school trip and expects to stay up all night watching The Shining and An American Werewolf in London?) Fans of Pet Sematary will chuckle at the name of one character in particular. I could say more…but, now, that would be telling.
Speaking of telling…every writer has heard the adage to show not tell. The Haunting Season is a remarkable example of how to make a first chapter really work for the reader. Using clever detail, Ms. Muto neatly and succinctly sets up her entire story in some deliciously mysterious opening pages that appeal to tastes across genres. Mystery and suspense lovers could be drawn to the novel’s plot as well as avid readers of the paranormal genre. The author definitely gives any reader an excellent sense of character and setting, and demonstrates a dead-on (Ha. I made a punny.) use of foreshadowing. Ms. Muto does such a successful job of lacing morbid curiosity into her plot that when a character mentions that the Siler House feels “diseased”, the reader almost doesn’t want to read on for fear of catching it—but, of course, we keep turning pages because we HAVE to know what “it” is.
The Haunting Season is not a read for the faint-of-heart, but is highly-recommended for anyone who enjoys a tightly-woven plot line, credible characters and voice, and a healthy scare. Be sure to pick up The Haunting Season, but, I’m warning you now. You will want to take down every mirror you have in your house. And if you're not the type to believe in things that go bump in the night, WATCH this webcam. It's located somewhere, ironically, in Hell's Kitchen, and has been known to catch a glimpse of a stray spirit or two. Perhaps, if you're "lucky" a ghost will come knocking. But, remember,,,be careful what you let in.
Publication date: December 21st 2012
by Dreamscapes, Ink
Genre: NA Paranormal/Ghosts