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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Book Review: Creative Spirit by Scott Nicholson

This is an engaging ghostly tale!

by Scott Nicholson
  • File Size: 481 KB
  • Print Length: 314 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Haunted Computer Books (December 2, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
Genre: Horror
My Rating:  4.25 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: December 2, 2011
"Scott Nicholson explores the dark legends of the southern end of the Appalachian mountain chain, a nightmare country that ends in Stephen King's yard."-- Sharyn McCrumb, author of The Ballad novels

When artists gather at a remote Appalachian estate for a retreat, they are unaware that their energy is feeding something unwholesome. Sculptor Mason Jackson and dying parapsychologist Anna Galloway must uncover the dark secrets of Korban Manor before their spirits become trapped forever.
A modern Gothic thriller

After parapsychologist Anna Galloway is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she has a recurring dream in which she sees her own ghost. The setting of her dream is the historic Korban Manor, and she's compelled to face the secrets of her soul.

Sculptor Mason Jackson has come to the manor to make a final, all-or-nothing attempt at success before giving up his dreams. When he becomes obsessed with carving Ephram Korban's form out of wood, even Anna can't divert his bizarre passion.

The manor itself has secrets, with fires that blaze constantly in the hearths, portraits of Korban in every room, and deceptive mirrors on the walls. With an October blue moon looming, both the living and the dead learn the true power of their dreams.

I am sometimes hesitant to read horror stories as I fear (no pun intended) they may be too dark or gruesome.  This horror story is creepy and has some gruesome aspects but I found it surprisingly engaging.

The story begins in 1898 introducing the reader to several important characters: the head of the manor, Ephram Korban, and a young maid, Sylva. It is quite apparent that there is some terrible magic in use and Ephram has a strong hold on Sylva who is drawn, perhaps fatally, to him.

The author then brings us to the present day and introduces a group of artists from different media who have come to the secluded resort at Korban Manor.  Mason is a part time sculptor who is there on a grant for his last effort to produce a work that will make him famous, make his mama proud and allow him to leave his day labor jobs.  Anna is a specialist in parapsychology. She is dying from cancer and has been drawn to the Manor in search of a ghostly image she thinks is herself.  Anna and Mason have some immediate disdain for each other, as do many of the other guests who include a famous, vain writer, a cynical journalist, a gay couple, one of whom is a freelance photographer, a pair of musicians and some amateur artists.  All of the guest have come on retreat with the hopes of breathing fresh air into their work and dreams.

The Manor is beautiful but creepy with pictures of Ephram in every room and fires blazing all the time.  The guests seem to be inspired in feverish and dramatic work but they do not see that their dreams may lead them into a terrible nightmare. What price are they willing to trade for what they seek in success?

Slowly Mason and Anna begin to see that there is something dark, obsessive and wrong in the Manor and how it effects them. They are still at odds but perhaps they will have to work together if they want to uncover the dark secrets before the magic and spells of the Blue Moon pull them where they don’t want to go.

Mr. Nicholson weaves a marvelous tale with characters who draw you in. I felt vested in both Anna’s pain and feelings and Mason’s dreams and frustrations. I was pulling for them from the early pages of the book. The tension and anticipation of fear built as I waited to discover what monsters would be around the next corner in the house and tried to determine, along with the guests, which passages were dreams and which were real.  I actually have notes in my Kindle at passages where I say “Oh gosh” and “nooo, nooo!” 

Some of the ghostly aspects were not completely surprising but the author has given them a particularly dark and unique aspect under Korban.  There is an unexpected twist as the drama reaches its climax. I was surprised too by many pieces of introspective wisdom that are shared and these added to my enjoyment of the story.  If you are up for an engaging mystery in a dark setting you should try this story.

Some wisdom tidbits:
Death wasn’t a release. Death...was just another prison, this one full of the same suffering that shadowed the living. Only here, there was no escape, no hope, and still nobody to belong to.  Location 3754.
The toughest critics weren’t in New York or Paris. They weren’t in the art schools.... Sometimes they lived in your mirror.  Location 4049.
Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book for review.
This was set in the Appalachian mountains in North Carolina for My Where Are You Reading challenge. I will also add it to my ARC and New Author lists.

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