Ghosts of Rockville

Books focused on the paranormal are nothing new. In fact, ghost stories are probably one of the oldest subjects of storytellers, reaching back deep into the antiquity of humankind itself. Today, it remains one of the most popular genre’s out there and it comes in all flavors: romance, thriller and by far the most popular—young adult. Of course, young adult covers all the others as well, which is handy, although it can be confusing for readers, especially since young adult seems to encompass a rather large age span –everyone from ten to twenty or twenty five—as well. GHOSTS OF ROCKVILLE: SEARCH FOR THE DOMINION GLASS By Justin Heimberg is a solid entry into the genre and seems to be aimed at the younger end of the spectrum.

The hero, Jay Winnick, is twelve years old, although ahead of the curve in a lot of ways for someone his age. A ghost hunter, he spends his mornings catching up on the latest paranormal news before heading out to school to meet up with his friends. Danni is an expert in all things “gross, vile and gag worthy”. Pam is a psychic who is not really a psychic at all, or at least not very good at it, even though she tries. And then there is Brian, popular kid, who should be Jay’s worst enemy, who should beat him up at every chance, but in reality is a closet nerd and member of Jay’s team.

It’s the team Jay needs. He gets a mysterious letter, which would be fine, but there is nothing on the paper. Just a seemingly blank sheet. To unlock the secret, he and his friends are thrown headlong into an adventure that pits them against just about everything they can Google. The thing is, there is a deeper mystery and they have to get to it, and it could mean the difference between life and death.

Ghosts of Rockville is a good book. At times it seems to waver between audiences, written for the age group of Jay and his friends, then for older readers—even adults. The universal point of view was distracting until I got into the book. I spent the first couple of chapters trying to figure out whose head I was in at what time. The segues are a little vague. I don’t mind this point of view, and I am not one of those annoying people who think all fantasy, urban fantasy and paranormal books must be written in first person. Actually, it was rather refreshing in fact to have something that wasn’t. It just took a little while to get used to Heimberg’s changes in point of view, since he doesn’t stick to one character exclusively in each chapter.

I should mention this book had a gimmick, and it is a gimmick. It has a little viewer called the “Magic Viewer” included with it, and you can press the viewer over pictures in the book to reveal hidden things. I did and didn’t like it. The publishers—in the “how to” section—recommended using it in a well-lit area. I read it under fluorescent lights and I couldn’t always get it to work, and how many people read in a well-lit area? I will say when it did work right, it was really pretty cool. It’s like having a secret decoder ring, and I had that secret thrill I had as a kid with the secret viewer books of long ago.

Ghosts of Rockville: Search for the Dominion Glass was overall a fun book. I really liked the characters, but… and yes, there is a but, Heimberg has ended on that note, that annoying note, that thing that, as you know, can enrage me. The book essentially ends with a big “to be continued.” For me, that takes something from the book. I love series, I’ve said that many times, but I need for the books in a series to be complete in and of themselves, not just hanging there with the story essentially unfinished. Bah. Still, Ghosts of Rockville is worth the read and for the age group it is intended for, it is very good.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars | Publisher: Seven Footer Press | Pages: 288 | Source: Publisher | Buy on Amazon

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