A couple months ago I finally got a Kindle for the sole purpose of reading lots of horror novels on the cheap. Apparition is one of the first books I picked up on my new purchase. I didn’t think I would like an e-reader as much as I would reading an actual book, but call me a convert, I am in love with my Kindle. This book made me glad I made the decision to pick one up.
Apparition tells the story of a father (Shane) and his two children (Matthew, age 6, and Ella, 14) who are trying to put the pieces of their life back together after their wife/mother Kari (in a seemingly fit of insanity) tries to kill Ella in her sleep, before killing herself to stop the assault. That’s how it appears to Kari’s family. In truth, Kari was being possessed by a demonic entity and stabs herself in a last ditch effort to keep her unwilling body from hurting her children anymore.
The results of the randomness of their loving mother trying to slaughter them leaves the family in shock and unable to relate to each other as they once did. Shane packs up the kids and moves them to a new home, to try to gain a fresh start. None of them are aware that they have been marked by the evil and that it will stop at nothing to kill the children.
The book is very obviously an outraged response to the epic number of high profile filicides we are currently seeing in our country. It’s a sickening topic that is hard to think about. There are journal entries that open each chapter that explain the way the demon makes people feel, and how the need to kill one’s offspring can be satisfying. These entries can be rather chilling.
One of the things I liked most about the book is the relationship between Ella and Matthew. It’s very touching and reminded me of the relationship I had growing up with my older sister when I was a kid. Yes, we would fight, but there was a sweetness there irregardless. We could, and still do sometimes, get into some really harsh fights and can be intentionally antagonistic towards each other (although for my part it’s something I’ve grown out of). Part of being the younger sibling is watching the older grow up and try to cope with the changes and feelings of being left behind as they mature. Matthew has to deal with that on top of the changed family dynamic. It’s a tough road for him, but he’s a brave little guy, and you can’t help but feel for him as he tries to be a little man in order to help put things rights. In some ways, he’s the hero-proper of the story.
Collings is a good writer and there are parts of the book that I found genuinely creepy. But then there are some parts where Collings makes mistakes that took me right out of the story and made me want to put it down. One of these instances happens at the opening of the book. Collings stops telling the story in lieu of trying to plead his case to the reader about his word choice in regards to a oversimplified description. I took offense that the man has the brass balls to release a 400+ page book that has children killed, but feels the need to explain a four-letter sentence to me. Authors interjecting themselves into the narrative has always been a pet peeve of mine. When this first happened, I thought about stopping the book, but I didn’t and overall I’m glad I did. The ending was a bit silly and we’ve seen it before, but overall the story was gripping enough to keep me reading, and that’s ultimately the highest compliment I can give it. Narrative issues aside, I enjoyed this book and would read more by this author.