Title: Cinema of Shadows
Author: Michael West
Publisher: Seventh Star Press
In less than six months, horror writer Michael West has returned with his sophomore novel Cinema of Shadows. After picking up a copy of West's debut novel The Wide Game and loving it, I couldn't resist checking out Cinema of Shadows, to see if it held up to his other works.
If West's first novel The Wide Game is a homage to the '80's, then Cinema of Shadows continues this homage in a slightly smaller way is a homage to the Ghost Hunting television genre that's all but boomed within the last decade.
Tashima, Joss, Kevin and Kim are your typical college students, except for one thing: they've either seen, experienced, or are deeply interested in the paranormal. Which is why they're the four students Parapsychology Professor Geoffrey Burke picks to spearhead his newest investigation into the Woodfield Opera House-turned-Movie Palace. Throw in a love story, some beautifully written foreshadowing, a few old friends, exorcising of demons and a large explosion, and you've got one hell of a good story.
Although Cinema of Shadows isn't a direct sequel to The Wide Game, it does take place in the same fictional town: Harmony, Indiana. So, it's won't be a surprise to the large majority of readers when a character from West's first novel pulls up a chair and stays awhile. This expanding of a town, like King's Castle Rock, is something that I thuroughly enjoy. Not only does it take you back to the same place time and again, but often times to the same characters, even if the main character only mentions them in passing.
West doesn't disappoint with Cinema of Shadows: he can still scare the hell out you without the blood and guts, or vulgarity that's typically associated with the Horror Genre these days. If anything, he's further shown that it's not all about zombies and werewolves, or god help us vampires, but about something more surreal and honest. And that kind of horror penetrates through every majorly charged scene throughout Cinema of Shadows.
And if that's not enough, West knocks it out of the park with the characters he's chosen to populate the pages with. He's managed to steer away from your typical whiny college student whose only looking for a good time. West has even managed to take a few overly done cliches and smash them out of the park, reassembling them into something that is unrecognizable.
I suggest grabbing the closest pile of blankets and a flashlight, because you'll be up way past your bedtime, hiding under the blankets, reading on while West effortlessly chills you to your very marrow. That's why I'm giving Cinema of Shadows 9 out of 10 TARDISes.
If you've already picked up Skull Full of Kisses, or The Wide Game, or for that matter are a Micheal West virgin, I highly recommend snagging a copy of Cinema of Shadows as soon as humanly possible. It's well worth the read!