Book Review – On the Hunt for the Haunted by Robin M. Strom.

3 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. for providing me with a free – temporary – electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley. Although I required their approval, the decision to read this book is my choice and any reviews given are obligation free.

As part of my open and honest nature I will state here and now that I am a bit of a TV junkie for shows like ‘Haunting Australia’ and ‘The Other Side’ from Canada. Heck, I am even a fan of the Canadian ‘Knock Knock Ghost’ and not afraid to admit it. This follows on from my childhood and teen years of loving to read any tales of “real life” ghostly encounters I could get my hands on. Remember folks, this was before the time of the Internet… so books on such topics were hard to find. Which is why I really wanted to read ‘On the Hunt for the Haunted’.

And I LOVED it! I think what I liked the most was the level of true scepticism that went into each investigation. As in, they were going into each house/ building with an open mind, but a rather large dose of logic and science. They wanted to find true supernatural interactions, but weren’t about to jump to a positive conclusion based on slim to no evidence. I have to admit that’s the part of the ghost hunting TV shows I don’t like. They are usually rather biased into proving there are spirits there as that’s what gets the ratings. So, by detailing these investigations in a book, the author has the ability be less biased and sensationalistic and add some good doses of reality and lack of evidence to even out their stories and, to me, make them more believable.

Oh, and yes, I do believe in ghosts and spirits. I have had too many odd encounters to NOT believe. But I am still a child born to science as well as fiction and so like to seek logical reasons behind such events. And I feel ‘On the Hunt for the Haunted’ gives some very sage advice and explanations that don’t rule out a spirit world… but also don’t ram it down the readers throat saying they have to believe it or else.

I will say, however, that I found the transcripts a little tedious in the end. I totally understand why they were used, but it would have been better if used in a book that was companion to a TV show of the same investigations. I also got a little frustrated in how the author would go off on tangent, mid investigation, to give the reader a minor lecture in studies into the afterlife and ghost sightings that weren’t always that relevant to the investigation. It seemed like padding more than in context information and I admit I almost nodded off at one point, as it detracted from the investigation so much.

But other than those very minor quibbles, I still found ‘On the Hunt for the Haunted’ a very interesting and enjoyable read.

Formatting and layout side of things, there were a few sentences that were a bit garbled and areas I feel the copyeditor may have also fallen asleep, as they shouldn’t have gotten through… but I was reading an ARC so I am sure they have all since been fixed up in the final edit. I also read this book as an ACSM and do not feel it was formatted for this, more to be a paper book. So the formatting wasn’t that easy to read in places, but again I felt this was just an ARC issue and the final book wouldn’t have these issues.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. Anyone interested in paranormal investigations or insights to the spirit world trying to make contact with the living, or even those who are sceptical of it all and want a more scientific approach to it all – I feel this would be a good book to read and one I would recommend.

Would I buy this book for myself?

I might, but I’m really not too sure. I mean, I enjoyed reading it… but I can’t see myself needing to refer back to it or read again in a hurry. So it might be deemed more a library book for me. One I can borrow and read, then return for someone else. I feel I must emphasise it is a very interesting and well-written, well investigated book… I just don’t know if I feel a need to own my own copy.

In summary: A well-balanced and scientific look into paranormal activity in the USA.

Until next time,
Janis.

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