Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Review--American Ghoul by Walt Morton

This book was suggested to me by the author himself, Walt Morton, after I made a comment that the title of this book was the same as a WIP (work-in-progress) of my own.  Actually, the working title of mine is American Ghouls and I hope to be done with it soon. 

I was lucky enough to find this on Kindle and I have to say, it was a fun read.  It was the first YA book I've read in a while and I'm glad it was suggested to me. 

The story is about a teenage ghoul who has to live a secret life in 1970's America.

But this isn't a coming-of-age story.  Thankfully, Morton keeps the plot going on this and doesn't dwell on bits that peg this book into some convenient mold.

There are some very funny moments, some touching moments and some great elements of horror.

I loved the dark humor in this novel.  It reminded me a bit of Tales From the Crypt and some of the Crypt Keeper's jokes.   There are moments where I felt like I could almost hear the Keeper's wonderful cackle in the background. 

Howard is a good character with nice balance.  He isn't overly sentimental but he isn't cold and unfeeling.  In fact, if it weren't for his ghoulish needs, he would be like any other kid his age. 

As he takes care of his grandmother and works his way through being in high school in New Jersey we see him navigate through various teen tropes.  The nice part is Morton keeps this plot driving forward so he doesn't get hung up on various things. 

And thankfully, Morton doesn't get sentimental about the 70's, and instead keeps it as a backdrop in a matter-of-fact tone. 

Howard also gets into a band called The Corpsemen.  To me, this screamed "Homage to The Misfits" but seeing as how they are a litigious bunch and have more lawyers than total number of band members, I can see why their name never comes up.  And I'm probably going to get sued for making that comment because I mentioned The Misfits twice without permission and written consent of the various members.  

There is even a website about The Corpsemen and it's well worth a look.  In fact, I'd wager that Morton was able to make a better story by avoided the other band all together and instead creating his own unique group. 

This book was a fun read.  It didn't get bogged down in the various traps YA books have in front of them and Morton kept the plot driving so you kept turning the pages.  He made Howard a great character without making him too unreal and it's nice to have somebody writing about ghouls. 

I would say give this one a read.  If for no other reason than to learn a few more jokes about eating people.  You never can get enough of those, can you? 

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