Book Review: Haunted by Glen Cadigan
Mark is an Iraq War vet with PTSD, so he counts himself lucky when a Gulf War vet gives him the chance to be a security guard at an office tower. Unfortunately, he’s the night watchman, and he doesn’t seem to be alone in the tower.
This is a unique, sympathetic story idea that is not as well-executed as it deserves.
Mark is ultimately a well-rounded character, but it takes too long to get to know him in this novella. Since it is in first-person narrative, he has the option of holding off on telling us about his PTSD symptoms and how they affect him. While a soldier would certainly most likely be more stoic in a traditionally masculine way, it gets in the way of the reader understanding where Mark is coming from and empathizing with him. He *tells* us that his PTSD makes his life difficult, but we don’t really ever see it.
Because this is a first person novella, this problem with the characterization gets in the way of the strengths of the scifi/fantasy plot, which is honestly fairly unique. I was glad I got to the end and saw the surprise reveal, but I certainly wasn’t expecting such a good twist from the rest of the book.
Essentially, the scifi/fantasy element of the book is strong, but the characterization at the center of the first person narrative is weak. Although Mark is a soldier, Cadigan shouldn’t be afraid to let us see the vulnerability of his PTSD. Recommended to fans of a unique ghost story looking for a quick read.
3 out of 5 stars
Source: Kindle copy from author in exchange for my honest review