Title: Point Pleasant
Author: Jen Archer Wood
Buy Link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance/Horror/Paranormal
Length: Long Novel 402 Kindle pages
Rating: 4.75 out of 5 rating points
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: Ambitious and compelling story telling with classic detailed writing; a small town America horror tale with introspective author hero returning home to face his complicated past.
Blurb: Ben Wisehart grew up in the idyllic town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. An early encounter with the supernatural shaped his worldview and served as the catalyst for his career as a bestselling horror writer.
Ben left Point Pleasant at the age of twenty. Thirteen years after abandoning his home, he returns to the town to investigate the apparent reemergence of the terrifying creature responsible for his childhood nightmares.
In Point Pleasant, Ben is confronted not only by the town’s resident monster, the Mothman, but also by Nicholas Nolan, Ben’s former best friend. Together, with Bill Tucker—the old recluse who lives on the edge of town—Ben and Nicholas uncover the mystery of the monster in the woods and discover that the ghosts that haunt us are sometimes made of flesh and blood. And sometimes, they lead us home.
Point Pleasant is an illustrated novel and features over a dozen works of original art by Svetlana Fictionalfriend.
This was an old fashioned read. Especially in the sense that there was lots of good detailed descriptive writing to get lost in while enjoying the creepiness of a small town monster myth get well and truly solved. Author Ben’s uneasy return home to reboot his creative imagination is the catalyst. Unlike many horror stories which coyly do the dance of seven veils with their frightening creations and the background motivations, less they show the latex masks and puppet strings, this one did not hold back in explaining everything you could want to know about Point Pleasant’s infamous, ‘ Mothman’. Initially this revelation of the mysteries startled me a bit, but the quality of the writing allowed me to suspend my disbelief right back up again and I was still in the game.
The element that really surprised me was when the straight forward horror story metamorphosed into a supernatural hybrid. It was disconcerting for all of us. The character’s dealt with it better than me. Though I frequently wanted to hit Nicholas, Ben’s childhood best friend over the head with a rolled up newspaper. His default position was irritatingly sure of himself. Ben’s creative uncertainties were so very appealing in comparison. His journey of discovery was fuelled by his curiosity, determination and intuition, I do not think it was an accident that his last name was Wisehart.
The love story strand to this well woven work was very enjoyable, as both guys learn what or who home is. Their relationship is nicely developed from one as young best friends to a prickly, emotionally testing and physically hot adult love affair.
Nicholas’ sigh bubbled with deep frustration.
“Fuck you, Ben.”
” No, you won’t. Too bad for you. I’m a screamer.”
I very much liked getting to know other characters from Point Pleasant as they helped or hindered this getting at the truth. I had some problems with Ben’s Dad whose attitude to his son’s career seemed awkwardly obstinate. I thought Bill Tucker was a grand character, an alternative father figure, his belligerence, bravery and determination was an enjoyable back up in the times Nicholas was being a pain. These occasions, when Nicholas was falling down on his best friend role in supporting Ben, but embracing the part he plays in obstructing the relationship and creating emotional tension, were perhaps too frequent. However none of the main characters really slipped into being simply representative figures, complication is built in as standard here. Though another disconcerting aspect was the down to earth conversations Ben has with what is a very otherworldly character, I wasn’t sure if it worked to start with but again the persuasive writing eventually pushed me back in line.
I did enjoy the length of this story as there was lots of space to get to know Ben, his family, friends and Point Pleasant really well. There is a real spread of time here as we learn about the history of both people and the place. The frightening and sad moments were evocatively imagined, creating a compelling contrast to the ups and downs of Ben and Nicolas’ romance.
Point Pleasant created a satisfyingly scary mystery and then resolved it without leaving things hidden in vague psychological shadows. Ben was a fine searcher out of the truth and his reconciliation with Nicholas and home felt just right.