Being a fan of the horror genre can be frustrating--living in a world filled with bad Hollywood remakes of great classics and series more focused on torture and gore then actually scaring anyone. So, when I picked up Ghost Road Blues, by Jonathan Maberry, I hoped it would give me that old school horror fix I’d been craving since my childhood and young adulthood spent watching the horror films of the seventies and eighties, and let’s just say I was not disappointed.
Ghost Road Blues is a story that takes place in the small town of Pine Deep, Pennsylvania, which just so happens to have the biggest Halloween celebration in the country. However, things weren’t always this commercial and light in the town which also happens to have a dark past, a serial murderer who ravaged the town before getting brought to justice, in a six-feet-under kind of way. As the festivities roll in for this year’s Halloween, their past is coming back to haunt them, and not all the monsters walking around town are working at the haunted hayride. Now, the citizens of Pine Deep have to work together to stop those trying to resurrect an ancient evil who will finish what he started thirty years ago.
Maberry has a unique writing style, creating multiple plot lines and following different characters as they endure the events that take place in Pine Deep during the novel, and, as the plot lines begin to cross and the different characters begin to meet one another, it often has catastrophic consequences. Plots come together like puzzle pieces to complete a terrifying story. All of the characters are unique and completely original, and you actually care what happens to them--whether you want them to survive, or you want them to meet an untimely demise. The whole novel has a great atmosphere, something most horror movies forget nowadays, because even if someone isn’t getting hacked up in a scene, you want to feel uneasy or, dare I say it, scared no matter what’s happening. Between the Halloween celebration, the town’s dark past, the bodies piling up around town, and this cool element of old school blues music, like Robert Johnson's Hellhound on My Trail, which is frequently mentioned in the story, it all contributes to an atmosphere all its own.
If you are a horror fan like me, you may think this is just another small-town horror novel and you should just skip it. Well, that would be a big mistake, because just when I thought I knew what was going to happen the author has an ace up his sleeve that I never saw coming. If you name it, this book probably has it: serial murderers; shootouts; ruthless fights; car crashes; entertaining characters; the supernatural; and old school blues music just to name a few. If you are like me and crave a return to the glory days of the horror genre then do not let this book pass you by, and since this is the first entry in a trilogy luckily, for me--not so much for the residents of Pine Deep--this isn’t the last you'll hear of the small town with the dark past and possibly darker future.