BOOK: The Haunting of Cambria by Richard Taylor

I picked this book up off a local used-bookstore’s 50-cent paperback shelf, primarily because I am now, and always have been, a total sucker for ghost stories. I wasn’t really expecting it to be any good, though, so I was pleasantly surprised when it started off a lot stronger than I’d anticipated.

Annnnd then the end came along and ruined the whole thing. But I’ll get to that in a minute. . .

The story is about a guy named Theo Parker, who was on his way to the new bed-and-breakfast (“Monroe House”) he’d just purchased with his adoring wife Lily when they were involved in a terrible car crash that resulted in her death. Devastated, Theo was in and out of hospitals for a few months recovering from his own injuries and then finally decided it was time to get on with things. Wanting to stay connected to Lily, he decided to return to Monroe House, fix it up, and try to make a go of it. For her.

When Theo arrives at the B&B, though, he finds a woman living there already — a woman named Eleanor Gacy. She says she’s the building’s property manager and that she’s been tending to the place while it was vacant to try to keep it in good shape for him. She’s a bit twitchy at first, though, and finally admits she’s been living there because she has nowhere else to go. Unwilling to battle her on the issue, Theo agrees to let her stay there as long as she’ll help him clean the place up. As it turns out, though, Eleanor’s been through some rough times in that house, something Theo gets a taste of his very first night there himself when he’s attacked by something he can’t see. Soon he and Eleanor are working together to try to figure out what’s haunting Monroe House and why.

And that’s where it went from pretty decent fun to The Ruins, which is all I’ll say about how this book turns out.

In any case, if you can stomach stupid endings that make no sense whatsoever (not that ghosts make a whole lot of sense either, I suppose, but I’m much more willing to go along with ghost stories than evil-plant stories), you might find this book a decent read. It would be perfect for a long flight or an afternoon on the couch, definitely. I’ll probably look for other books by this author, if only because the character of Theo reminded me a bit of Spenser from the Robert B. Parker series. And I loves me some Spenser.

Sorta recommended, with caveats!

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5 Responses to “BOOK: The Haunting of Cambria by Richard Taylor”

  1. Lizzie Says:

    This book sounds like it might be at least a partial rip-off of Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting.” The death of the wife, and the character named “Eleanor.” Also, maybe the name “Theo” – I’m not sure.

  2. megwood Says:

    Nah, I wouldn’t describe it that way at all. The two books really have almost nothing in common.

  3. Richard Taylor Says:

    Megwood (Megan Wood?)

    Thanks for liking (kinda, sorta) my book THE HAUNTING OF CAMBRIA. People either hate the first part of the book and love the ending, or the reverse, so I guess it is in part what you bring to it. Fans see things in it I didn’t know were there, and sometimes miss the things I thought were important. A book is a dance with a thousand minds, and each dance has its own music.

    I have a new book coming out in several weeks, RED MIST. It is a mystery-thriller that ignites with the murder of Marilyn Monroe and ends with the assassination of JFK. Maybe not your kind of dance, this one, but you might sample it up on Amazon in a few weeks, or at my website

    Thanks much,


  4. megwood Says:

    An excellent point about books, Mr. Taylor. if it’s any consolation, nobody who reads my blog EVER agrees with me, so they’ll just ignore what I had to say about your book’s ending and read it anyway. They’re kinda awesome that way.

    I will definitely check out Red Mist — it actually sounds exactly like my kinda dance. You know, as long as it doesn’t turn out that the killer responsible for both deaths is a giant venus fly trap named “Audrey.” 😉

    Thanks for taking the time to post your comments here! I’m glad to have discovered your books and look forward to reading more!

  5. Lizzie Says:

    That is SO impressive that the author wrote in to you! And your answer to him was so gracious – kudos and/or props! Now I feel bad about my “rip-off” comment. I really admire your open-mindedness (is that a word?), and I’m glad that some of the artists you write about actually see what you’ve written.

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