The Haunting of America – DNF @ pg. 105

The Haunting of AmericaThe Haunting of America
by Joel Martin, William J. Birnes
Rating: ★★
Publication Date: September 15, 2009
Pages: 400
Genre: History, Non-fiction
Publisher: Forge

In the tradition of their Haunting of the Presidents, national bestselling authors Joel Martin and William J. Birnes write The Haunting of America: From The Salem Witch Trials to Harry Houdini, the only book to tell the story of how paranormal events influenced and sometimes even drove political events. In a narrative retelling of American history that begins with the Salem Witch Trials of the seventeenth century, Martin and Birnes unearth the roots of America's fascination with the ghosts, goblins, and demons that possess our imaginations and nightmares. The authors examine the political history of the United States through the lens of the paranormal and investigate the spiritual events that inspired public policy: channelers and meduims who have advised presidents, UFOs that frightened the nation's military into launching nuclear bomber squadrons toward the Soviet Union, out-of-body experiencers deployed to gather sensitive intelligence on other countries, and even spirits summoned to communicate with living politicians.

The Haunting of America is a thrilling exploration of the often unexpected influences of the paranormal on science, medicine, law, government, the military, psychology, theology, death and dying, spirituality, and pop culture.


How do you ruin a book with a name like that?  Wrap a textbook in it.

It might not actually be a bad book if one is looking for an anthropological view of superstition and paranormal belief and their effect on the American political system, but I was just looking for some fun and slightly spooky stories about haunting in America.  You know, what it says on the tin.

Ah well, another one off the TBR; progress is progress.

DNF: A Dangerous Engagement (Amory Ames, #6)

A Dangerous EngagementA Dangerous Engagement
by Ashley Weaver
isbn: 9780749024581
Series: Amory Ames #6
Publication Date: April 23, 2020
Pages: 382
Genre: Historical, Mystery
Publisher: Allison & Busby

Amory Ames is travelling to New York, excited to be a bridesmaid at her friend Tabitha's wedding, but with Prohibition in full swing, her husband Milo is less than enthused. When a member of the wedding party is found murdered on the front steps of the bride's home, the happy plans take a darker twist.

Amory discovers that the dead man has links to the notorious - and notoriously handsome - gangster Leon De Lora. While the police seem to think that New York's criminal underworld is at play, Amory feels they can't ignore the wedding guests either. Milo and Amory are drawn into the glamorous, dangerous world of nightclubs and bootleggers. But as they draw closer to unravelling the web of lies the murdered man has left in his wake, the killer is weaving a web of his own.

I tried.  I walked away and gave it a few days, and tried again.  I couldn’t do it.  While the series started off strong, and interesting, it has bottomed out with this book, wallowing in mediocrity with bland and tedious descriptions of every little thing (they went to an automat; she describes what an automat looks like, then describes all the categories displayed, then describes Amory and Milo getting change for the machines, then getting their trays, then which food they’re choosing).  It’s endless.  And the paragraphs of Amory’s internal dialog outnumber actual dialog by at least 5 to 1.  I have decided that the abundance of internal dialog that has become so common in most of today’s mysteries is because authors and editors are forced to assume their average reader is stupid, and so lacking in critical thinking that they must be led through the steps of the mystery like a particularly dim child.  The misanthrope in me understands the likely necessity, but I am not stupid, and I’m quite capable of thinking critically, so I find the trend irritating.

Oh, and speaking of irritating trends: wonder of wonders, she’s pregnant, only she doesn’t know yet, even though it’s obvious even to someone like me, who has never so much as had a scare.  I’m willing to bet .50 cents that Milo will figure it out before she does.

And speaking of Milo – he’s an ass.  I’m assuming the author is going for something akin to insouciance, but really, just an ass.  He talks down to Amory more often than he ever has anything nice to say to her, and she just takes it.  It’s all way too stiff-upper-lip for my patience.

It’s a shame to see this series go to the dogs, but after this one I can’t imagine it rebounding in my eyes, unless Amory were to ditch Milo in some spectacular fashion, and that isn’t going to happen, so instead I’m going to ditch the series and re-claim valuable bookshelf space.