I had the opportunity to read The Waiting, one of Joe Hart’s earlier novels. This supernatural tale involves a young widower and his disabled son residing on an island in one of the countless lakes of northern Minnesota. There are ghosts aplenty, scary incidents, a creepy backstory and a haunted grandfather clock to propel the story. The early setup is nicely done. Our protagonist, Evan Tormer, is nicely drawn and the geographical setting is an interesting character in its own right. The second quarter of the book meanders a bit with a couple of torpid scare scenes. The action picks up the pace and the storyline gels at around the half-way point. The puzzle pieces start falling into place and momentum builds. There were two or three genuine freaky passages that chilled me and I honestly didn’t see where the plot was going. The ending was nicely handled, too, although the subplot involving a potential love interest didn’t quite achieve the author’s intentions – at least for me. On the other hand, I found the subplot of a single dad raising a disabled child to be a unique addition. The child is portrayed with dignity, so kudos to Mr. Hart on that score.
Anthony Hains is a horror & speculative fiction writer.