Dead Ringers by Christopher Golden
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I was really excited to get a copy of this book. I love a good scary story and based on all of the great reviews I had high hopes.
Unfortunately it was not at all what I was expecting so I found it a bit disappointing. It’s actually one of those books where I feel like I’ve been reading something different from everyone else. I don’t know, maybe I was just in the wrong frame of mind when I started it and that influenced my reading but I found the whole thing a bit of a struggle.
When Tess bumps into ex husband Nick on the street she gets angry when it seems he’s pretending not to know her. She phones to give him hell but when she finally speaks to him she realises the guy she bumped into wasn’t him but his double. Chatting to friend Lili she finds out that people have reported her friend has a double. Tess and Lili decide there’s something sinister about these doubles and start investigating.
Meanwhile Frank, an old colleague of Tess, Lili and Nick, is confronted in his home by an intruder who has his face. Fake Frank holds him hostage in the basement and starts to take over his life.
As Tess and Lili step up their investigation they discover a connection to events in their past and have to face their fears and their doppelgangers if they hope to survive.
I’ve been going through a bit of a horror phase at the moment and was drawn to this story by both the blurb and the fantastic reviews. It’s described as a haunted house story with a twist which I have to say I don’t think it is. I was expecting the majority of the story to be set in a house with the danger coming from the mirrors. I had this idea of the reflections not imitating but seeking to escape and replace the originals.
In fact there is very little of the story set within a house. I would probably describe it more as a type of invasion of the body snatchers than haunted house tale. The idea of doppelgangers seeking to replace their doubles, while not original, is an interesting one. It has the potential to be creepy and menacing however I felt like that didn’t come across.
For me there were just too many things that didn’t work. I didn’t feel any real tension or emotion and I never really connected with any of the characters. To be perfectly honest I wasn’t too fussed who lived or died.
Every single character had some issue or past trauma that was almost constantly referred to and over analysed. I’m all for diverse characters but there were just too many issues among a small number of people for it to be realistic and it just wasn’t that relevant to the story. I’m of the view that you shouldn’t have to keep telling the reader about a character’s issues or personality traits. It should be obvious from their actions and their dialogue
I also thought they kind of over reacted to some of the early incidents. OK it’s a bit funny to bump into someone who looks exactly like someone you know but I wouldn’t think it would be as terrifying as it’s made out to be. It’s possible my stress levels at the moment are leading to a lack of empathy but I just didn’t find a lot of the supposed terrifying incidents that scary.
The dialogue between characters seemed a little clunky to me at times and I think the story suffered from a lack of description of both people and places. Some of the action sequences in particular were a little confusing and unclear and I would have liked a little more scene setting to help me imagine where they were and what was happening. I don’t know, maybe I just missed it or wasn’t paying attention.
There are a lot of 5 star reviews so it obviously hit the right spot for others but sorry it wasn’t for me.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
3 thoughts on “Book Review: Dead Ringers by Christopher Golden”
Oh dear. The second I find I don’t really care what happen to the characters I know the book has lost me (or didn’t grip me in the first place). How disappointing.
In other news, I’ve nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. Feel free to ignore if you’ve already done it (I don’t think you have, but I could be wrong!) or don’t have time.
Here’s the post: https://clairehuston.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/one-lovely-blog-award/
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Thanks. I’m not great at doing these but will hopefully have some time over Christmas to get caught up.
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Don’t worry if you don’t get to it. I’m the worst in the world at doing these. The first time I got nominated for this one was the start of October!
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