Ghosts of Rosewood Asylum by Stephen Prosapio (Book Review)
Plot: Zach Kalusky, host of Sci-D TV’s Xavier Paranormal Investigators, is ecstatic when he’s given the opportunity to explore the most haunted site in Chicago for a Halloween Special: Rosewood Asylum, a place plagued by decades of mysterious fires and unexplained events. It’s Zach’s dream investigation- but there’s a catch: the network forces Xavier Paranormal Investigators to partner with their rivals, the Demon Hunters. Now, Zach must fight for both his show’s integrity and his team’s loyalty while trying to protect his own secret: that he, himself, is possessed.
My Review: About the only sort of movies these days that can scare me are ghost/haunting movies. Its still rare, but its possible. For some reason I watch any other sort of Thriller/Horror movie and I just don’t get scared like I used to as a kid. Probably because I’m desensitized by it. It honestly sucks. I mean, I don’t want to be so terrified I can’t sleep or live on, but I want to have some sort of trill from being scared. So, I seek out ghost stories and movies to try to get that thrill. Honestly, it doesn’t happen that often.
What annoys me the most, is when a movie or book presents itself or rather is advertised as a ghost/haunting movie,
but isn’t. For example – Paranormal Activity(2). It’s a movie about a Demon, not a ghost. Or like the movie Insidious which started out semi decent until it went in a complete different direction – Astral Projection – again, NOT ghosts. It annoys me and makes me feel like I‘ve wasted my time. Now this book has “ghosts” in the title, and yes ghosts are revealed much later in the book, but a few times early on they mention Demons, and Soul Snatcher’s, and yes they do come into play later. I wasn’t very thrilled by this.
What I also didn’t take note of when I picked up this book was the last sentence of the plot description “that he, himself, is possessed”. Really? UGH! I don’t believe in possession (ok, I don’t HAVE to believe in something to enjoy the material, but I really don‘t care about possession at ALL!), and I don’t care about movies where people are possessed, therefore I don‘t want to read about someone being possessed. Sometimes I think I’m the only person on the planet who really doesn’t care that much about The Exorcist either. Of course, there are also psychics in this too. I just do not care about books/movies where people are psychics, mediums, or possessed! – Yet I like the show Medium go figure. On some level I do believe that its possible some people are psychic, but then I just wonder if I‘m just wanting to believe its possible. In the end, I just find it so fake and hilarious – for the most part – in movies when someone is psychic. So honestly, when I got to the part where this 3yr old kid becomes possessed by the ghost of his godfather, I almost put the book down….BUT, I have an obsession with abandoned asylums and the fact that if any place was going to be haunted, it would be them. I also have, or rather, had, a love for the SyFy show, GhostHunters. (I haven’t watched the last season or two, because its becoming really “out there”) so I decided to push on with this book. In the end, the entire book felt like a mash up between Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State, and Ghost Adventures. Ghost Hunters was so great for so many years, until they brought in all new crew members…including a dog, and weird equipment. Paranormal State wasn’t my thing. They were college students filming haunting, and in the end they just seemed extremely fake. And Ghost Adventures, well, the main guy is a complete douchebag. Sorry, but he is SO annoying. So yes, this book seemed like a COMPLETE mash up of those shows.
In this book we have Zach who’s the main host of the show XPI. They are a group of college students like (Paranormal State) who’s crew come and go over the years (like Ghost Hunters), and they have a TV show for doing ghost hunts. One of Zach’s “most wanted” locations has been offered to him to investigate – the Rosewood Asylum. Only catch is, he has 48hrs to search it, and he must do it with his rival tv show, Demon Hunters.
So basically what follows is an episode of Ghost Hunters. You have a couple people researching the history of the location and those that were killed there or worked there, and then you have your psychics and investigators and of course the people that want to plant false evidence. Over the course of the book we also learn that not only is Zach possessed by the spirit of his relative, but he can cause “episodes” to happen to help in the investigation. The whole time we are teased about these, not knowing what they really are until he has one. Honestly, I had no idea where they were going with this one from the beginning, and I just rolled my eyes when it was revealed.
The background story itself on the asylum is a bit confusing because we get bits and pieces of information throughout the entire book. We learn there were a lot of suicides happening on the property, a lot of fires, and even a murder. But it felt confusing and all over the place to me. So it wasn’t as creepy as it should have been.
I had picked up this book for free from Amazon after reading a few blurbs from a bunch of horror fans saying that this book was great and scary and amazing. Well, sorry folks, but I thought it was just the opposite. In fact, it was probably the least scary book I’ve ever read. For the most part there aren’t really ghosts, or scary scenes happening at all. In fact, the ghosts are sort of hidden until the last 10% of the book. As far as the ending went I just found it utterly silly. I just kept waiting for something good and ghostly to happen and the book just didn’t deliver what I wanted.
While the writing was decent I just felt confused some of the time. There were way too many characters in this book and half of them were completely useless. They could (and should) be deleted from the book as it just makes things more confusing having them there.
Overall: When it comes down to it, this book wanted to be a murder mystery more then a haunted asylum/ghost hunting book, and used the ghost/psychic angle to get the murder solved. It was also more of a behind the scenes look at a ghost hunting TV show that never really finds much until the end. While it was a quick and easy read it just didn’t thrill me or spook me in the least. I doubt I’d recommend it as its pretty easily forgettable.