The Last Days of Jack Sparks – Jason Arnopp

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There was little chance this book could live up top the hype accompanying it. Here are some examples from Amazon:

Takes a frenetic and self-obsessed modern world in its confident stride. The Last Days Of Jack Sparks gives us ingenious and funny diabolism, repurposed for the 21st Century. A magnificent millennial nightmare (Alan Moore)

Wow. Seriously hard to put down . . . Chilling and utterly immersive (M. R. Carey, author of THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS)

This is The Omen for the social media age (Chris Brookmyre, author of the Jack Parlabane thrillers)

An absolutely great read. It scared the bejeezus out of me! (David Schneider, comedian, director and actor in I’M ALAN PARTRIDGE and THE DAY TODAY)

Super spooky and addictively written (HEAT)

So now you know what I think the book isn’t

Jack Sparks is a journalist investigating the supernatural. His method is to get down and dirty, so he starts by arranging to see an exorcism. He thinks it’s a setup, but from that point on things start to go bad for him. He feels haunted, despite rejecting the possibility it could be happening. And a strange video appears on his social media page, but he didn’t put it there. It terrifies viewers, goes viral, then disappears.

He continues his investigations, getting deeper and deeper into the mire and a cocaine addiction. His fall from grace is also narrated with additions by his brother, with whom he has a somewhat combative relationship. The reader gets taken along a strange journey, though what is real and what is not is not entirely clear. And you know how it ends.

The central character is smart, sassy, and has some great lines. His observations on social media and life are often sharp and funny, but also inconsistent in quality. So, funny in places. But such humor didn’t always seem relevant to the story, or the development of the character. And the observations were not enough to draw me in to the character or the story. I thought this was a limp tale. It meandered, doing its best to be funny and threatening at the same time – often achieving neither – until it came time to deliver a half hearted cliffhanger. And then on to the next encounter. Now, if I were a horror fan, perhaps some of the references and story would have resonated more. Instead, it was something of a disappointment.

One to avoid, unless you want to join the cool crowd, or want to mine some snazzy comments about social media.