26 March 2009

Skeleton Creek; Patrick Carman

Skeleton Creek Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars

Blair Witch for the younger crowd...

Ryan wakens after being in a 55-hour coma to be told that he and his best friend, Sarah, can no longer communicate (there's even tracking software on his computer). Why? Because he was in the coma, and seriously broke his leg, late at night at the old gold dredge outside town. There's something going on, something that involves the town's name change, a mysterious group called Crossbones, the death of Old Joe Bush, and alchemy; they're going to figure out what happened.

The reason I don't know what happened is because the book is linked to a website, and every few pages there's a new password that'll bring up video shot by "Sarah" (each video is apparently more terrifying than the one before). The passwords are macabre in tone, ranging from allusions to Poe and Stevenson to Dracula and Poltergeist. Here's the thing: if I'm reading, I don't want to interrupt my book to go to the computer. Chances are, looking at the video won't drive me back to the book, it'll drive me to check my e-mail, IM a few friends, fool around on Facebook, etc.. So I've now missed something important, plot-wise.

The other problem with that trend is that it makes the book ephemeral. A good horror story (and Ryan talks about some of the great Poe stories) will be around for ever. Even Blair Witch can be eerie without the accompanying website and multi-media campaign that surrounded it. But this book? Without the website, it doesn't really make sense. So what happens in a few years, when someone finds it, tries to go to that site, and the publisher has allowed it to close?

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