For the most part, it's my wife's fault. But, to be totally honest, I didn't HAVE to read the book.
In recent years I've taken to providing my wife and kids my Christmas list, which contains novels I'd like to read. It's very specific. And each one is given a different list so they don't all end up buying me the same book. It works out great. It makes gift-buying easy for the family; and it makes gift receiving enjoyable for me.
But then wifey had to go and improvise. She admitted it before hand too. "I bought you a book that wasn't on your list, because I really liked the cover." What!? That's violating the golden rule of book buying (my rule anyway). Don't go for the pretty cover because, as the ages-old adage says, words to live by are: "Don't judge a book by the cover!" Had she never heard that? I wondered as Christmas approached.
I told myself to be nice when I opened the book. To force myself to read it, no matter what. To say I liked it, no matter what.
And the deal wasn't all bad. She actually bought me two books, one from my list and then one from the bookshelf with the pretty covers. I joyfully knocked off the John Sandford book in no time, while the "other" book stared at me from the top of my desk.
"The Whisper Man" by Alex North, an author I never heard of. A Brit, non-the-less. Maybe I've never heard of him because he/she is writing under a pseudonym.
I knew from reading the jacket flap, it wasn't a book I wanted to read. It was obviously a scary book and it involved kids. Two things I don't like in a book. One of the reviews on the back said: "First it's spooky. Then it's scary. Then it's terrifying." Great.
I can read murder-mysteries every day of the week. In fact I do. Blood and gore don't bother me. Dexter cutting up body parts, no problem. Hannibal eating his victims, give me seconds. But a little boy kidnapped by a psychopath who's been whispering to him through the mail slot in the door? Nuh uh. No way. I don't do Stephen King. Not since Pet Cemetery. I can't explain it. Those books just hit that spot in the back of my cerebral cortex, the same spot that won't allow me to eat green peas.
It's a weird thing about me, like scraping plates. I can pick up dog poop in the yard; I can pull half-eaten rabbits out of the mouth of my dog; I can castrate a pig; dehorn a steer; blood and gore can shoot and spill and I can wipe it off my face with my sleeve and keep on trucking. But I hate scraping dinner plates into the garbage. Ooh, I got gravy on my fingers, soy sauce on my arm, mashed potatoes under my fingernails. Ick! Go figure but don't ask me to explain why.
So, how was "The Whisper Man", you ask?
Well, first it was spooky, then it was scary, then it was terrifying. Then I had trouble sleeping. But I finished it. And it was good like a haunted house was good or running a marathon was good. It sucked while you were doing it, but felt good when you were done.
I gave it a 6 on the Haugenometer. Amazonian spooks liked it more and give it 4.4 of 5.
But what can you expect from a scaredy-cat like me? Please stick to my list next time, honey.