Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jimmy Stone’s Ghost Town / Scott Neumyer

Genre: Middle Grades/Spooky

Approximate word count: 35-40,000 words

Availability Kindle: YES            Nook: YES                 DTB: NO

A writer, publicist, and photographer from New Jersey, this is Scott Neumyer’s first novel. He has previously had short stories published in several magazines, both print and online.  For more visit the author's web site.


Jimmy Stone’s life has been rough. His Mom dies, his Dad ignores him on good days and makes life miserable others. He’s dodging the school bullies. Then he meets a new friend who changes everything.


In many ways this book feels like two half books. If only the two parts could be reunited with their matching halves you'd end up with a great book and a good book. As it is, you're left with one book that is just okay.

Overall Neumyer's writing is very good with appropriate word choice for what I perceive as his target audience ("middle grades" 8-12 years old with more appeal to boys than girls). The first half of the book sets up the life of Jimmy Stone and does an excellent job of it. If there were such a thing as a "grade schooler coming of age" story, the first half of this book would be a great start. Several conflicts are established and bringing them to a resolution in the second half would have been excellent. Of course, if you chose this book anticipating a scary ghost story you'd be disappointed.

Finally, in the second half the ghost story begins. However, this half doesn't seem related to the first half other than Jimmy and his friend David being in both halves. The second half does nothing to resolve any of the conflicts established in the first half. Instead, it sets up an additional conflict, getting home, with the way to do this being to accomplish a task in each of seven "realms," the first realm being a world inhabited by ghosts. The only payoff for accomplishing the first goal is being able to move on to the next realm. The payoff here seems way too slim.

My assumption is the intent is for this to be the first of a seven book series since only the first of the seven tasks is completed here. Possibly some of the conflicts established in the first half will be resolved by the end of the series, but with very little hint or promise of that a reader might not bother to find out.

Format/Typo Issues:
No Significant issues.

Rating: *** 3 Stars

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