Haunting in Old Tailem by Janice Tremayne (Haunting Clarisse #3)

I received a copy of this book from Goddess Fish Promotions as part of a promotional tour, in exchange for an honest review.

Actual rating of 2.5

Clarisse has found herself in the middle of another paranormal problem when she winds up in a remote Australian town with Harry, while he’s working. Making friends with some of the locals, Clarisse soon realises that there’s something amiss in this town. A spirit has followed her from another location and has joined up with a group of evil doers who are trying to take over the town by stealing children’s souls. Clarisse feels compelled to fix the wrong that permeates the town, and finds herself befriending a local Shaman while doing so. Together they must repel the evil that has taken root before a disaster can strike on the opening day of a big event that will see countless children just ripe for picking of this demon. Can they cleanse the evil in time?

I was SUPER excited to get a review copy of this book. I absolutely adore paranormal/haunted house/ghost stories and this one caught my eye and was right up my alley. Though this is book three in the Haunting Clarisse series, it is advertised as being able to be read as a standalone, which is why I jumped right in, I kind of wish that I hadn’t though. I do feel that this is one series that you really need to read from book one, otherwise you miss out on important character relationships and I feel that it impacted my ability to connect to Clarisse during the story.

This had an absolutely fantastic idea; remote Australian town, quirky locals, super nasty evil that needs to be taken down before it takes the town for it’s own. I just feel that the execution didn’t turn the ideas in to their full potential and that so much more could have been done with expanding on said amazing ideas making the story deeper and more riveting (for me anyway).

I love that this is set in Australia, as I am Australian as well, and live in a remote country town, granted, not in the outback, but still. I found that the focus on cramming as much good ‘ol Aussieness into the story was a bit on the nose at times, as in the stereotypes, such as “throwing a shrimp on the barbie” maybe I’m the only one, but I’ve never actually heard an Australian use this term…and the constant reiteration that Digger drove an FJ Holden, once or twice would have worked just as good I feel. Another thing that irked me a little bit was the dialogue, at times the Aussie slang came through but then in the next paragraph the dialogue felt very stilted, forced and ‘proper’ it just didn’t work too well for me and I found myself getting repeatedly jolted out of the story because of it. Also the constant mention of the “evil crew” I found to bizarre for some reason, and it’s probably only me who found it strange, I can’t even tell you why, it’s just one of those tiny details that irked me a bit. Also, for such a relatively short book, it took me a long time to read it. I’m not sure if that is because of pacing issues, or if I just wasn’t as invested as I’d hoped to be.

Another reason that my rating is not as high as I’d like it to be is because I really felt like Tremayne’s narrative was telling more than showing. I know that the demon was evil, and was stealing children’s souls, but I didn’t FEEL it. We were told how evil it was but it didn’t really go much deeper than being told as such. When I’m reading a story, I like to feel what the character is feeling, and I really felt like I didn’t get that with this story unfortunately. It’s not enough to tell someone how something feels or is, you need to make them become fully immersed in it so they can feel how downright evil something is and how it makes your skin crawl like a thousand insects marched across the surface.

I also felt that the overall big showdown was kind of lackluster. It seemed to be over so quick and that was it and then off they rode into the sunset. I was looking forward to a big good vs evil battle for the soul of this tiny Australian town, but I didn’t quite get it which made me sad.

The Shaman was a nice touch and I really enjoyed his character, I never realised that Christianity had ties to Shamanism so this has interested me greatly and I’m planning on researching this a bit more. I picture him as a wise Aboriginal man with great ties to the land. I’m not religious so I looked at it from a different spiritual side.

All in all, this was a story with absolutely excellent ideas, but I feel that the execution of said ideas let it down. I wanted things to be deeper, I wanted deeper characters and a deeper look into the evil that Clarisse is fighting. I feel like this story only scratched the surface on what it could have been. I’m honestly glad that I’m in the minority with my views on this story, I am interested in going back to the beginning of the series and giving book one a go, I’m hoping that it might endear the characters to me a bit more.

*Note: After unsavory interactions with the toxic fan base of this author, I cannot recommend it. The interactions I experienced from posting an honest review on the book that I read, left a bad taste in my mouth and I don’t wish anyone else to experience what I did. I will also not be picking this author up again because of this reason.* 

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