Verdict: GHOST BULLY is a fun paranormal romp that balances witty humor with genuine heart.
Jonah Preston and his best friend Max have just moved into their new home in Houston, Texas. But they quickly discover that they aren’t alone. The house’s previous owner, a disgruntled recluse named Willard Hensch, committed suicide and as it turns out, he never left. To make matters worse, he’s not thrilled about sharing his house with Jonah and Max. After their attempts to help Willard either coexist peacefully or vacate the premises fail, the ghost gets his revenge by killing Jonah. It’s not exactly the living situation either of them imagined, as Jonah is unwilling to move on. In his quest to navigate his new plane of existence, Jonah encounters ghosts and angels alike, hones his new paranormal abilities, and finds himself pulled into a supernatural war against demons.
For all its dark subject matter—Jonah is, in fact, murdered in a brutal way and has to come to terms with everything that entails—GHOST BULLY manages to spin the narrative with a humorous touch. Part of what makes the book hilarious is Jonah’s own narration, but the real strength comes through in the dialogue. Rife with pop culture references, friendly banter, and wit in spades, the characters grow through their conversations, through how Jonah perceives and adjusts to his new (for lack of a better word) life. Though the side characters can come off as one-dimensional or cartoonish at times, their dialogue is what really helps to establish their dynamics. It always feels realistic, even when delivering exposition about the novel’s impressive worldbuilding.
And GHOST BULLY’s worldbuilding it one of its most memorable features. Familiar ghostbusting techniques make an appearance, but they’re used in unique ways to establish communication lines between Jonah and his friends who are still living. Readers get to experience the ghost realm with Jonah, an unexpectedly vibrant place with unlimited potential. Jonah’s newfound abilities create more opportunities for humor, conflict, and some seriously fun ghost brawls. The narrative then digs a little deeper, throwing angels and demons into the mix with high stakes and a couple of interesting twists. It’s smart, well-paced fun with plenty of heart—Jonah is a likeable protagonist, compassionate to the core, and his mission to help others makes him easy to root for.
~Jessica Thomas for IndieReader