Edition 31: Book Review: Eyes on You by Steven Jenkins
Reviewed by Mysti Parker
For this issue, I felt like reading something spooky, so I found this ghost story via a BookBub feature and thought it sounded like my kind of thing. Anyone who knows me can tell you I love my “ghosty shows” on TV such as A Haunting and Paranormal Witness. Eyes on You has that kind of feel, which does well for an hour-long TV episode, but unfortunately doesn’t adapt quite as well in book form.
Set in the busy city of Swansea in southern Wales, the story begins with a teenager, Matthew, hearing about his father’s untimely death. The next chapter skips ahead several years to find Matt and his girlfriend Aimee moving in to their first flat. Immediately, odd things begin happening that Matt promptly dismisses as coincidences and accidents. Aimee suspects these things are paranormal in nature, and of course, she’s right. They seek help from a psychic, and all is well for a while.
As the story progresses, we see Matt and Aimee’s relationship take its natural course from dating to marriage and a baby on the way. But with their growing child comes the growing threat from the paranormal entity that’s been watching and waiting in the shadows. I won’t spoil it for you, but there is a nice twist involved that proved to be the saving grace of an otherwise okay story.
Though the paranormal events especially toward the end did lend a good creep factor, what passed in between wasn’t that exciting. Matt and Aimee go about their lives, and while it’s sweet, it lacks a steady level of tension to keep the suspense up when there were no spooky occurrences. It’s sort of like the commercials that air during my “ghosty shows.” I would have liked to have seen a continued worry, some level of paranoia, jumping at shadows, or research as they try to discover what might have taken place and how to prevent it in the future. The twist near the end was a nice (and grim) surprise, but virtually no foreshadowing led up to it except at the very beginning of the book. So I did have a difficult time maintaining interest as I read through the rather mundane scenes in order to reach another ghostly one.
But as I mentioned already, the story did have a good twist, and the paranormal events had enough creep factor to keep me reading to find out what would happen next. The writing was succinct and easy to follow. There are just enough secondary characters to keep things moving without wading through useless side plots. The book is very well-edited with no formatting issues. I’d recommend it for anyone who loves their “ghosty shows” like I do or who simply likes a classic ghost story in a modern day setting.
Eyes on You, by Steven Jenkins
Horror: Ghost Story
Publisher: Different Cloud Publishing, 2017
Mysti Parker is a wife, mother, and shameless chocoholic. While her first love is romance, including the Tallenmere fantasy romance series and an award-winning historical with EsKape Press, she enjoys writing flash fiction (the weirder the better) and children’s stories. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband, three children and too many pets.