Monday, 5 May 2014

Path of the Dead: Hungry Ghosts by Timothy Baker

So Timothy Baker is a new author to me, his little bio’ states that he has a few short stories out in anthologies but this is his first novel. Judging by this book I really look forward to seeking out his other stories and will be on his mailing list for further novels.

I always enjoy the dedications at the start of books and am glad to see the indie authors/small publishing houses acknowledge all the input and inspirations.

There is a fluidity in the opening paragraphs that really adds to the dream sequence that opens up the book.  Early on we are introduced to the main characters of the Monk Dorje and child Chodren; later as more characters arrive we get to know them through their actions more than any back story, it’s certainly a good way of not getting bogged down in characters and it allows the story to flow more freely in the present.  The characters are believable and not always likeable.

Each chapter is brilliant at building a little tension, giving a little more information and then ending you on a knife edge, this kept it easy to read yet made me keen to keep going.

The story up until the first zombie bite is so calming and gentle with its lilting story telling that it is quite and shock and as the spray of arterial blood splashes against the walls I was jolted wide awake.  What is basically a group of people trying to survive the start of the zompoc is given a new twisted edge by its setting backed up by some beautiful writing which really sets of the scenes.

I adored the little frog hero story, when you get there you will understand.
There are elements of religion but I found them “enlightening” and not at all preaching or trying to convey a message.  The facts and research seemed very truthful to my limited knowledge of the area, culture and religion, thereby adding not distracting from the story in anyway.

Even the death of the animals (which I hate in books, yes its fiction but if it’s good it’s REAL) was softened by the overall flavor of this book, Zompoc meets Crouching Tiger, face munching with a spiritual feel! Fantastic.

The ending really tied up well, leaving it open for further instalments but actually felt complete on its own.

There was the odd misplaced word such as trial instead of trail but otherwise good.  For a first novel, albeit a shortish one, this was really rather good. The basic writing skill and style is there, I do hope that TB has lots of ideas up his (robed) sleeves.