I received a free digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 2.5 Stars
I am not what you would call and "outdoor girl". In fact, I am pretty much what Jack thinks of when he calls Rose and "indoor girl" the first night they met. I don't like nature (close up, at least. I can admire from afar), I don't want it to touch me, I don't want to be in it, I don't like humidity and being sweaty and gross (winter is a whole different story, I love winter and I love snow). Even so, there is something about the Grand Canyon that draws me in, that I would be willing to set aside all my 'nature rules' in order to go hiking up, down, and all around. So when I saw a new paranormal book up on Llewellyn's page AND it was specific to the Grand Canyon, I was pretty interested.
Sadly, this one was not a favorite - and I have read a ton of these types of books that Llewellyn offers.
First, I want to address the issue of the errors in the proof. This is not the author's fault in any way and what I am about to address did not impact my rating in any way. However, this is now the second or third book from Llewellyn where the proof copy has been terrible. I don't mean typos and such, those are expected at least somewhat in an uncorrected proof. This issue goes beyond that. Any time a word should have had an 'ff', that set of letters was missing. There is another combo as well, I believe either 'if' or 'fi', I can not recall, but it was hugely distracting. And as this is not the first proof I have found that in recently, I am wondering what the purpose is? Sometimes it was obvious was the word was meant to be, and other times it made a different word, which then lead me to believe there were many typos, until I caught on to the pattern of what was missing. Again, this part did not impact my rating, but it was suuuuuper annoying.
As for the book itself, as it went on, I found myself skimming toward the later half, especially when stories became very similar. I don't to discuss anything too in-depth about the kinds of experiences people had and continue to have, because there are some great stories. But I do think some of the more repetitive ones could have been left out. Another major frustration and part of the reason for the score of 2.5 stars instead of 3 has to do with the fact that there is little verifiable information. We often do not even get dates or a time frame for when any of the experiences supposedly occurred. I understand that putting a date to all would be impossible, given the fact that so many stories are passed on from one staff member to the next, and information gets lost over time, but it certainly would have lent some credibility to some of the stories if there was more meat to them overall.
The authors are very familiar with the setting, living and working in the area. I mistakenly thought when I first grabbed this one though, that these were all their personal stories and I should have read the synopsis a little more carefully. They do share some of their experiences, but overall the majority are accounts that other people have reported to have had. I realize there simply is no real plausible way to do any kind of investigation within the canyon, the amount of contamination in the evidence would be astronomical. Even so, I would have appreciated some more concrete evidence within some of the stories.
Something else I think the authors did well relates to their knowledge of the Grand Canyon. We get plenty of historical information not only related to the supposed hauntings, but of the canyon itself and its surroundings. I think that part is just as important, so readers and would-be investigators get a feel for why a place might attract spirits or why guests might linger, long after their earthly body has departed. I also have never really given much thought to what a vast complex of buildings must cover the site at this point, and it was interesting to learn about that aspect of the history as well.