Monday, 19 September 2016

REVIEW: Glenn Rolfe - Chasing Ghosts

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
Publication Date: 1st August 2016
Pages: 102


A copy of Chasing Ghosts was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, Glenn Rolfe, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Sinister Grin Press.

Glenn Rolfe hooking up with Sinister Grin Press. Who would have thought it! Well, me, actually. Well again, it’s a combination I could see working very well. A young, up and coming author with a passion for the genre joining forces with a young, up and coming press, also with a passion for the genre. This could only mean great things right?

My last read in the Glenn Rolfe world was Things We Fear. I wasn’t taken as much with it as I was with, say, his novel Blood and Rain. This made me a little apprehensive about Chasing Ghosts. I am always nervous picking up someone’s new work when the last one didn’t shake me.

You can read my thoughts of the books Confessions has reviewed of Glenn’s at the bottom of this review. This is what I thought of Chasing Ghosts.

Jesse and his pal, Davey, and the new boy, Luke, are going chasing ghosts. A term they use when they want to get away from things and go exploring and daring each other in the woods. They don’t realise that the ghosts are real.

When they go missing, Jesse’s dad, Derek, goes out of his mind so much that he goes searching for them. He didn’t expect to find the ghosts either. But he did.

Mixed up with a crowd of punk, dope heads, Derek finds things he couldn’t have imagined in his worst nightmares. Now everyone seems to be running from the ghosts.

The normal format is being followed but in a shorter fashion this time. Simple reason for that is my desire to talk about the writing.

The characters in this one are great. Going by the synopsis you would be expecting to talk about Jesse, Davey and Luke. Although they are paramount to the story, they do not feature a lot, so other than to say they are three average kids, I can’t go much further.

Jesse’s dad, Derek is another story. A married man with a kid, cheating on his kid and his wife. This makes him abhorrent to me but to be honest, in this story, I couldn’t help but warm to him. I think he is a victim of circumstance more than total disregard for his family. Heather, his wife is completely distraught when Jesse goes missing. Mike is completely distraught for his friends and would do anything to help them. He seems the salt of the earth. But is he really?

Walt is the local police chief. Not in the best of health but with a dedication to his work and his people, he is not the ideal man for the job but will do his best to fulfil it.

We have a host of others in this one, all involved in a party in a cabin in the woods. All very much dope heads and bums. Connor, Ian and Jack are three band members who have turned up to play at the cabin. They seem decent enough lads but have no idea what they are in for.

Every single character in this story could be that man or woman that lives next door to you. They are so normal and real and non-assuming that you could pass a dozen people like them in the street and never know it. I love when that happens. Makes everything flow so much easier.

The ghosts? Not telling you a thing about them.

The plot? It’s one of those cabin in the woods things. You know where people get chased by things and disappear and there is blood and stuff. The end.

Ha haaaaaa! Not this baby. I can sum this book up in two words. In fact, I did in a message to Mr Rolfe when I was only twenty-seven percent of the way through it:

Nailed it!

This, my friends is one creepy ass book. Yes, it is a book set in the woods with something chasing people and killing them but you know what I hate normally about books and films of that type? Predictability. You can guess every little thing that is going to happen next. You won’t with this one.

Chasing Ghosts is a fresh take on the death in the woods scenario. There are things that happen in this story that will slap you in the face with a big wet fish. There are times that you will be reading knowing that something may happen. You will be tense. You will hold your breath. Next thing you know, you have been given the wedgie of your life hoping you cleaned your ass correctly while wondering what in the hell just happened.

You want horror that will make you jump? Pick this up. You want horror with believable characters that you genuinely feel sorry for? Pick this up. You want to read scenes that will make you feel sick? Pick this up. You want to be shocked? Pick this up.

And shocked I was for a couple of reasons. Glenn Rolfe has upped his game again with this one. Blood and Rain had blood and guts and gore but this one has much more than that. You get really gritty parts but the suggestive way that it is written makes your mind go into overtime. You can at times literally feel the pain.

This is also not the way I imagined Glenn Rolfe to continue writing. His books are scary and have plenty of blood and guts in them but at the same time are written in almost a wholesome kind of fashion. Yes, it’s horror but horror you could let your mum read. Chasing Ghosts is one you could really only let her read parts of.

I have a gripe though. It finished way too early for me. This could have run and run and run and I would never have gotten bored of reading it. When it finished I felt a bit deflated. I couldn’t believe it was over. I called Mr Rolfe a bad name in my head.

Didn’t spoil it though.

To summarise: this book excited me. It excited me while reading it and once again it has excited me to the point where I can’t wait for his next story. Looks like my suspicions about Glen Rolfe going all the way were very right.

General rating:

★★★★★ loved it!

Horror rating:

★★★★★ loved that it scared me!

If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer, then please consider using the links below to buy Chasing Ghosts or any other books from Glenn. This not only supports me but also lets me know how many people actually like to buy books after reading my reviews.


Book Synopsis:

The Cobbs were ignorant woods-people that died off and left nothing to fear. Locals in Naples, Maine think they know this story. But are they wrong?

Luke Howard and his mom move to Naples and Luke’s eager to make new friends. When Jason and Davey invite him out to the abandoned Cobb place for a game they call “chasing ghosts,” he’s ready and willing. However, the boys will come to discover that some vacant houses are better left to die alone.

Meanwhile, a punk band set to play in a rented cabin out of town feel eyes upon them. Somebody’s watching, but not their usual audience. When their lead singer strays too far from the group and disappears, his band mates set out in the darkness to find him.

Police Chief Walt Henderson is about to discover that there’s more going on out in the woods of his town than he ever imagined.

Chasing ghosts is more than just some children’s game.


Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter and all around fun loving guy from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King and Richard Laymon. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is the author the novellas, Abram's Bridge, Boom Town, and the forthcoming, Things We Fear (March, 2016), the short fiction collection, Slush, and the novels, The Haunted Halls, and this October's, Blood and Rain.

His first novella collection, Where Nightmares Begin, will be released in March, 2016.

He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!

And for more about Glenn, visit his site or find him on social media: