Books: The Ridge

Perhaps it was when I saw that Dean Koontz had praised Michael Koryta’s writing that I decided to check out The Ridge. I don’t think I realized it was a ghost story as well as crime fiction, but it seemed like it would have enough suspense to motivate me to climb on my exercise bike to listen to it.

That worked pretty well, though I ended up having to listen to part of it during my commute to finish the book within the four weeks allowed by the library (including a two-week renewal). Until I manage to either exercise every day or lengthen my workout (half an hour on the exercise bike most evenings, and an hour at the Y on Saturday), that seems to be the way it goes with most eAudiobooks.

I saw that some reviews considered it a horror story, but I don’t think it goes that far. One (disparaging) review said it is more bizarre than scary, and I agree – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing from my point of view. I’ve never seen what is entertaining about being scared.

I won’t say it’s a great book. Some of the characters are quite interesting, especially the newspaperman who has just lost his job because the paper couldn’t compete with the internet. The main character, Chief Deputy Kevin Kimble, is less appealing, in part because of his infatuation with a female convict who killed her husband and shot Kimble. I liked the people at the large cat sanctuary, but they come into the story too late to be developed all that well.

As for the central mystery, I thought at first that the supernatural elements would prove to have a logical explanation as they do in most crime fiction. If you allow for ghosts with supernatural powers, I suppose you can call the rest logical. I enjoy the supernatural elements in Dean Koontz’ books, but I found it less satisfying in Koryta’s. Perhaps it’s because in the struggle between good and evil, the evil side seemed to have the upper hand.

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