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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin

The Dead Path was kind of creepy, but not really frightening.  The cover is great, and the book sounds scary, but the idea has been covered before with more suspense.

Nicholas Close sees dead people.  Sound familiar?  After his wife dies, Nicholas sees his wife and other dead people re-enacting their final moments, caught in some kind of time loop.  He finds this new dimension disturbing.  Well...yeah.  

Nicholas ends up leaving London and returning home to Australia.  Not only does he continue to see dead people, but a traumatic event from his childhood re-surfaces in a variety of ways. 

His sister has become a good witch, his mother considers him bad luck, someone has been killing children for decades, there is a haunted wood, awful spiders, the Green Man myth, and more. 

Yet, I didn't find it very scary.  Creepy, yes.  Full of elements that should make it frightening, yes.  So why didn't it have that effect on me?  

I think it was because none of the characters had enough dimension for me to care deeply about what they were supposed to be going through.  In order to make an elaborately fantastic plot like this work, the characters need to both likable and interesting.  Nicholas seemed to be playing a part instead of participating in a horror story.  

There are quite a few genuinely creepy scenes and disturbing events, but it didn't work for me.  The conclusion was irritating.

Too bad.  I wanted to feel frightened.

Fiction.   Supernatural/Horror?  2009.  374 pages.


  1. Hmmm...that's always hard when you want a book to work for you and it almost does - but not. I'm on the fence usually about those as to whether to continue in the hopes that it will improve or put it aside. And, I want to be scared sometimes too! LOL

  2. what a disappointment, the premise sounds great!

  3. That's such a shame. All the elements sound great; I would have picked this up if I hadn't read to the end of your review and about the disappointing conclusion.

  4. Kay - I knew pretty early on that I was going to have trouble with it, but kept reading anyway. :(

    Anne - I've had several disappointments lately which is why I'm slow at reviewing.

    Kim It did sound good, but didn't follow through...and then the ending was so cliched! Ah, well...

  5. Sounds like one to skip, thanks for the review

  6. bookmagic - It didn't work for me.