First of all, let me get this out of the way: this debut from Michael Aronovitz has all the tells of a budding author’s first novel. It is the opposite of dense in its exposition, its characterization is done through the perspective of an adolescent that sometimes forces a surface-level perception of other characters, and it could use some more editing. Now that’s been said, allow me to clearly state: this is an exceptional and well-executed paranormal novel.
The main highlight of Aronovitz’s style is vividly introduced with the first scene of the novel, with the protagonist and high school student Michael smoking weed with his friends Nick and Will, before breaking into the cemetery that Michael’s father now maintains. The main tool in the author’s employ is the ability to round out the central character’s perception so that everything that could be said about a given scenario is said and teased out in detail. This makes for excellent horror, with Michael often imagining things at the time they are happening that are usually worse than the reality he is walking through, albeit not in some very gruesome and memorable examples.
This could be a cheap trick if it weren’t for the fact that it is also used to allow the character to hang a lampshade on moments where the audience might pull back from the narrative, an important aspect of any good horror novel. Michael’s occasional genre awareness is also highlighted in these introspective narrations, and further fleshes out an archetypal portrait of a high school kid in late 1970’s America without feeling shallow.
The novel also pays homage to some horror greats, with the plot of the story bookended by letters from an unnamed character to who is presumably close to them. It is part of the many mysteries that unravel through the story as to who this character is and why they are writing. While the internal plot points may not be as cerebral as the imagination of the protagonist, I will say that the final chapter of the book raises the bar of the novel dramatically, turning over a lot of ideas the reader may have, either about the main character – or the powers of the dead, for that matter.
All told, this is an impeccable novel for any fan of the paranormal, a tale of terror that is perfect for any horror enthusiast. I strongly recommend if you are always in the mood for a good ghost story, that this be your next bedside read. Purchase your own copy of Alice Walks RIGHT HERE!
Written by: Michael Aronovitz
Publisher: Cemetery Dance Publications (August 1, 2017)
Format/Length: E-Book: 186 pages