The Opening by Tim McWhorter

Nick Fallon knows failure all too well. His string of collapsed business ventures make for a resume from hell. This next one, however, will be different. The Chamberlain Theater (sic) itself is different.

Nick has bought himself a theatre and renovated it into a state of the art 4-D experience, but there’s something wrong with The Chamberlain. That’s the (very) basic premise for this entertaining ghost story. Things predictably don’t go according to plan for Nick and he ends up having to hire a team of paranormal investigators.

The opening section of this book is the strongest. We have a suicide followed by carnage in quick succession, and this gets the book off to a great start which had me hooked. Unfortunately, it couldn’t keep this up, and quickly changed into more of a mystery than a horror. This is not a problem, if that’s what you’re expecting, but the opening few chapters made me think I was going to read a terrifying, full-on horror story.

One of the problems I had as the story developed was the introduction of the German paranormal team FAUST. Claudia was a bit of a cliché, in my opinion, as she was this beautiful, intensely sexual, gothic psychic. There are only three male characters in the book, and they all objectified her in some way, including her husband. I struggled a lot with this – she felt more like a fantasy than a real character.

The later pages of the book also have some pace sucking sections where the characters sit around and talk a lot or sit in their hotel rooms getting dressed. These scenes were too long for what they offered to the plot, and whilst I accept there is a bit of place holding and scene setting inherent in these sections, I felt they could have been trimmed so we get back to the entertaining main plot more quickly. A drawback of these scenes is that I started to notice typos, and in one paragraph, a complete change of tense.

For these reasons, I find The Opening a tough book to recommend. There is much to like, and a lot of people will enjoy it if they go along for the ride. I found it a good read, overall, but slightly frustrating. It could’ve, should’ve been better.

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