Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Ghosts of Lone Jack

This book proved rather difficult for me to read. It's not my usual literature choice, for starters, but I was given a copy by its publishing company to read and review on the blog. The premise sounded interesting enough.

Jared is a 10-year-old kid who visits his grandfather every summer in Lone Jack, Missouri, a town with a lot of Civil War history. This particular visit proves an eventful one, to say the least, as the town is becoming increasingly overrun by ghosts of the Battle of Lone Jack, Civil War characters who have continued their deadly battle beyond the grave. Only Jared, a few of his young friends, and some of the town's old-timers can see the ghosts initially. But the ghosts, who have up until now been nothing but harmless spirits, are turning into zombies---mindless, rotting corpses whose crazed violence is unleashed on anyone unlucky enough to stumble into their crossfire. Jared and his friends team up with the old-timers and a ghost-hunting duo to discover what's happening to the ghosts of Lone Jack, and to figure out what they can do to put the warring spirits to rest.

Add into the mix some evil town bullies, a group of six escaped convicts, some really stupid donut-stuffing town policemen, Little League woes, and the cute girl next door, and you have the basis for what felt like a primarily stereotype-driven plot. There were definitely fun moments in the book---even a few that made me chuckle out loud. But as an editor, I was driven almost crazy by the misuse of apostrophes (how is one to pronounce g'tting' exactly?). The editing could use some work. The zombies were a little too gruesome for the intended age group (lots of gore, guts hanging out of bodies, head slicing, bugs pouring from rotten openings, etc.). And the book tried a little too hard to teach readers through long passages of history about the Lone Jack area that would've lost me as a young reader. It took me about three-quarters of the book to get into the story. The ending was exciting and fun. But the rest of it for me ... eh. If you're really into Civil War history, you might find this to be a fun read.

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