“A book is as private and consensual as sex.”
If writers from the ‘Saw’ and ‘Hostel’ franchises wrote a book, they’d end up at something pretty similar to ‘Haunted’ by Chuck Palahniuk. That’s not a good thing, either.
I’d be interested to find out what Chuck Palahniuk’s inspiration was for writing this book, although I fear it involved spending too much time around East London Hipsters and wondering how best he could stand out from his peers. I imagine that Palahniuk created a list of the most shocking acts an author could write about, stuck it on the wall right by his Macbook, and ticked each off one by one. Probably using a ballpoint pen filled with the blood of a sacrificed goat. You’ve got self-mutilation, cannibalism, taboo sexual fantasies, and murder, all rolled in to one exhaustingly ridiculous, and at times hard to follow, book.
I’m happy to concede that thrillers require something novel to resonate with an audience that has been spoiled by masters of atmospheric writing, such as the likes of Stephen King, Agatha Christie, Tess Gerritsen, and Patricia Highsmith, to name a few. However, in my opinion, that enigma should not consist of blatantly obvious ploys to be controversial.
I’m still unsure what the point of ‘Haunted’ is to be quite honest. If the intention was to create a book that was perfect for mindless reading, it succeeded. However, I’m afraid the only thing I was left ‘Haunted’ by was a self-serving and patronising attempt to create something special.
A note to Chuck Palahniuk: your audience isn’t stupid, don’t treat them as such.
Book Worm’s score: 5/10 and a partially-digested foot