The Horror Zine Review
The Ghost Box
by Ferrel D. Moore
|Paperback: 329 pages
Publisher: White Cat Publications, LLC. (March 1, 2013)
The Ghost Box
by Ferrel D. Moore
Review by Marc Nocerino
Ferrel D. Moore’s “The Ghost Box” is a scary and richly layered book that follows a veritable host of characters as their individual motives and problems coalesce into one unified threat that they must work together to neutralize. Ashley Hillis’ husband goes missing during a paranormal investigation gone very wrong, and a slew of fiery deaths that follow. Ashley must join forces with a homicide detective who considers her a suspect, a long-lost relative of her missing husband, and a skeptic who built his career debunking the supernatural.
Together, Ashley, Granny Hillis, Ian Hunter, and detective Alvarez must solve the riddle of what The Ghost Box is, and how to use it. The stakes couldn't be higher as the fate of the world depends on their success. All of this is woven into a smaller story that puts each of the main characters in danger from a completely separate malevolent force, and they must race against the clock and avoid being caught by a murderous ghost before they can complete their task.
“The Ghost Box” was cerebral, suspenseful, and scary. Getting all those in equal measure was an impressive feat. It is hard to categorize this book in any one genre because it blended elements of the supernatural, science-fiction, mystery/police procedural and speculative history. It blends some of my favorite genres to tell a story that explores some very interesting concepts and ideas, while still satisfying my craving for terror and mayhem. By the time I was within the last twenty pages, I was ready for a sequel before I even got to the ending.
One of my favorite things about “The Ghost Box” is the detail that Moore uses. Not just in a descriptive sense, though that is exceptional too, but in his actual storytelling. It is apparent that Ferrel did some homework, blending real elements with those from his imagination to lend an air of reality to his story. One small example is a scene where someone is using Ritual Magick, and you can see that the level of detail shows actual knowledge of the subject: “He sprinkled crushed salt taken from the Dead Sea as a ward around the perimeter of his circle. As he intoned an ancient banishing ritual, he knelt down and chalked symbols on the floor from John Dee’s Enochian language to strengthen the barrier. In the flickering light from four stands of candles taken from a forgotten Indian palace, [his] white silk robe appeared golden” (Page 209).
Another little detail/Easter egg that I really enjoyed is the name of Albert Magnus Hillis, a play on Albertus Magnus, the 13th Century saint who was also thought to be a magician, occultist, and alchemist.
But the book did have a couple of things that didn’t work as well for me; one of them being that the book felt a little cluttered. There are quite a few characters, all of whom were connected but each with different ultimate goals. A side-effect of having so many characters is that there were essentially three different heroes and three different villains. While this did add depth to the book by tying three distinct but related stories together, it also had the effect of watering down the intensity of each individual story-arc somewhat. In fairness, this may have been done intentionally to heighten the anticipation or suspense of one set of characters by switching at a cliff-hanger moment to a completely different set of characters. At a little past the halfway point, Moore ties everything together and keeps the pace terrifyingly and satisfyingly intense for the remainder of the book.
But the positives definitely outweigh the negatives in Moore’s “The Ghost Box.” Overall, I would highly recommend this book. The action scenes were satisfying, the supernatural elements were legitimately scary, and the plot worked. By blending so many different genres, Moore has written a book that should appeal to…well…just about anyone with a love of darker fiction.
You can buy the book HERE
Kindle is HERE
About the author
Ferrel D. Moore
Ferrel D. Moore, author of Tainted Blood, The Ghost Box and The Secret Dragons of Creative Writing, is a Detroit writer specializing in dark fiction. He is an avid paranormal investigator and is currently writing a book on the topic titled Ghosts of Detroit.
You can visit Ferrel HERE
His magazine called Insatiable:The Magazine of Paranormal Desires can be found HERE
About the reviewer
Writer, musician, poet, armchair philosopher, libertine, mystic; and most recently, father.
Marc was born and raised under the foggy canopy that blankets San Francisco, where he was first exposed to the exotic and profane elements that became a seminal influence on his creativity.
When not writing for pleasure, Marc spends his time doing a ridiculous amount of homework as well as working as Assistant Editor for She Never Slept, an online horror magazine where he also writes the occasional review and has a column on horror-based webzines.
He currently lives amid the tall pines of California's Sierra-Nevada Foothills with his amazing wife and daughter -- and the sketchiest cat ever born.