The Uninvited: A Southern Ghost Story
Written by: Jeremy Billingsley
Published by: Publish America
Reviewed by Ismael Manzano
The Uninvited: A Southern Ghost Story by Jeremy Billingsley follows Alec Bradshaw, a ghost hunter who returns home after a six month absence to set things right with his family and put his own ghosts to rest once and for all. On the run from the tragedy of his brother’s death and spurred on by his wife’s affair, Alec found solace in hunting ghosts, following their stories, finding out what they want and putting it right so they could move on to the next life. But when the wounds of his past begin to heal, his wife calls him home and Alec comes, unsure of what will happen, but knowing that he must for the sake of his family—both living and dead.
And his timing couldn’t have been better, because just as they attempt to mend the gash that had torn apart their family, a new threat has come into their lives. Alec’s old friend and rival, Karl, is released from the mental hospital that he’s called home for seven years. Alec knows Karl will come for them, knows the shadowfolk will come with him, and they will come for his children. He knows, because he accidentally helped release the shadowfolk seven years ago one night in a haunted house, and those dark, ghost-eating creatures have been attached to Karl ever since, driving him insane.
Now Karl’s out and coming for what he believes—and the shadowfolk tell him—is rightfully his, Lisa, and he’ll sacrifice Alec, the children, and the family ghosts that haunt Alec’s home, to get her.
The Uninvited: A Southern Ghost Story, is a well written, entertaining, page-turner, reminiscent of Dean Koontz, with its three-dimensional characters that are just flawed enough to be human, but not so much to make them unlikable.
Although, I must warn readers that despite the title and the horror label, this story is more a family drama wrapped up in a supernatural shell, so much so that the ghost aspect was often more an underlying background story than a relevant part of the plot. Of the 207 pages, approximately 140 of those pages were devoted to the relationship between Alec and his estranged wife Lisa, taking the reader back and forth between the present and the inception of their love. Did I mind this? Absolutely not. The author’s choice in delving so deeply into the relationship of Alec and Lisa anchored the story, made it more than the usual ghost story, made it impossible not to care about the characters, their goals in life, their dreams and their love. It makes the shadowfolk’s arrival even scarier than if they’d just been two tough-talking, one-dimensional stereotypes.
With all that said, Mr. Billingsley has written a great piece of fiction that I enjoyed and I’m sure anyone else who reads it will as well. Pick up your own copy soon, or borrow from a friend; you won’t be disappointed.