Monday, June 29, 2015

A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel by Paul Tremblay

Mulluane | Monday, June 29, 2015 | 1 Comment so far
Part psychological thriller, part thriller and part horror, this book will grab you like the proverbial monster under the bed. Warning… before reading this book, buy a nightlight -- or twelve. You'll need them.

Blurb might contain spoilers, toggle to view. ( Toggle may not function in email and some feed readers.)

A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends domestic drama, psychological suspense, and a touch of modern horror, reminiscent of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In, and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.

To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television began to surface—and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.

*Blurb source *William Marrow
A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel by Paul Tremblay | Thriller Review

Book Source: Publisher

Horror Book Review by Mulluane

At 14 years old, Marjorie has begun exhibiting all of the classic signs of schizophrenia. 
But is she mentally ill or demon possessed?

The Basics

Worldbuilding: Set in suburban New England, this tale focuses on a nuclear family in crisis. Beset by unemployment, medical bills and the very real possibility of losing everything, this is a family pushed to the very edge.
A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel by Paul Tremblay
But that was before one member of this beleaguered group falls off of the looming cliff and straight into darkness. But, will she be this family’s salvation or their doom? 

The answer may surprise you.

Pace: One word describes the pace of this thriller. Intense. Dredged up from the memory of an eight year old child, every observation, every recounting, is fraught with the possibility of error. Questions are asked and answered, then those answers are thrown out the nearest window and replaced by new questions.

  • Marjorie, the oldest daughter and the subject of this book. 
  • John Barrett, the father in this little drama.
  • Sarah Barrett, mom to this dysfunctional group.
  • Merry, now 23 is Marjorie's younger sister. 
  • Father Wanderly, catholic priest.
  • Karen Brissette, blogger and TV critic. 
There are a plethora of secondary players, each with their own roles to play and each contributing to the mayhem in one way or another.
My Synopsis

The Story: This tale is related by Merry, the youngest child of a family involved in a modern day reality TV show. Now an adult, we listen along as Merry gives a world class writer a first hand account of the horrific events of her childhood.

At the heart of her story is her father, a truly conflicted individual. When modern medicine fails to help his daughter he turns to religion for answers. Convinced that his daughter is possessed, he agrees to let the church perform an exorcism, on live TV.

Meanwhile, Karen Brissette, blogger and TV critic, is doing a blog review of the reality show and her insights are inciteful, sometimes humorous and almost always cynical. Sprinkled throughout the book her “review” often brings clarity when the storyline gets murky. It was nicely done.

My Opinions 

Thoughts: This is very much a plot driven story. The characters, while varied and occasionally sympathetic, are secondary to the questions raised and answers sought. Deep issues will be explored and long held secrets will be revealed. And the line between sanity and insanity will morph and blur.

Ever heard the expression “put through the wringer”? Trust me, by the time you finish this book you will feel just like a worn out mop. The sudden need to sleep with your lights on won't help either.


Summary: Despite the fact that this genre is outside of my comfort zone, I loved this book! With my chaotic schedule (and the resulting fatigue) my reading time has been chopped into little bitty pieces. But that was until I picked up this book and devoured it… in one night.

Yes it was that good.

And best of all? You will not see the final twist coming. Oh you think you will. You'll be sure you finally have it all figured out. But you won’t. Not by a long shot...

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books, Affiliate Links

A Head Full of Ghosts
Author: Paul Tremblay
Cover Art: Amanda Kain
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Content: Suspense, Drama
ISBN 10: 0062363239
Publisher: William Morrow (June 2, 2015) HarperCollins
Print Length: 309 pages
Kindle: A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Just For Fun: Interactive List of Dragon Books
What Should I Read Next?

Already read the book? Please share your own opinion in the comments below!

Horror Review of A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel by Paul Tremblay
Reviewed by Mulluane on June 29 2015
Rating: 4 of 5

Mulluane is a 55-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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Dragons, Heroes and Wizards

1 comment :

  1. Ohhhh! This looks exactly the kind of story I would enjoy, night lights or not ;-)
    The added detail about media coverage - and the loss of privacy that's at the basis of reality shows, together with the audience's morbid fascination - is indeed a plus, since it would tie in perfectly with the way some kind of entertainment is headed nowadays.
    Added to the list! Thanks for sharing :-)


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