The Patience of a Dead Man by Michael Clark is not your run of the mill haunted house novel. While the paranormal elements of this book were very original the first third of the book was difficult to get through as I found dialogue and characters hard to relate to. I really struggled with coming up with how to write this review because I am torn over the character development and the inability to relate to anyone involved within the beginning of this story. There is a lot of exposition behind the mentality of a recent divorcee and he is coming to terms with it. Normally this would not be an issue because all good characters have faults, but the amount of time given to the characters consistent griping about his ex-wife made it problematic to relate, or even like him. The dialogue between the main protagonist and the “love interest” is stunted and unrealistic.
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However, once you pass this beginning portion of the novel it begins to pick up the pace and is a locomotive coming full steam ahead, turning up the heat as we experience major haunting in the house and around its perimeter. There is a lot of back story for what is happening thanks to some well-placed journals that just happen to appear when they are needed the most (gotta love a helpful ghost). Just to warn you readers, there are time jumps that happen, but they are separated out, so they are easy to follow. With these time jumps we learn important information to help avoid the malevolent spirit that is hell bent on getting revenge because it is as putrid, and vile, as it is sociopathic in its actions throughout as the mystery is kept under wraps until the unexpected end. There are some creepy events that happens to the characters, that made it hard to stop reading.
Clark has the imagination to create an unsettling story, but a simple, yet unsettling, moment towards the beginning would have made all the difference in making me care a bit more so I could get through internal dialogue and unrealistic banter between the two leads. It’s not a terrible start, but it could have been so much more.