“There are times when I have to wonder "how did that happen?" I suppose I was expecting an all out ghost story when I started this journey, or should I say journey-less journey. In the synopsis we are told to expect a heart-thumping perfect ghost story,except, there is no ghost story, unless your definition of ghost story is different from mine.
Scary shadowless forms hiding behind curtains moaning their Boo's, unfamiliar noises bumping in the dark, giant beaming moons with mist and fog, this is what I was anxiously wishing for while reading this book. I walked away feeling disappointingly neglected.
I wanted desperately to like this book because I did enjoy the author's previous publication The Thirteenth Tale. I think her purpose writing Bellman & Black is to create a mental side-note reminder, if you will, on how we live our lives on a daily basis. Are we creating memories? Are we happy? Do we dwell on our regrets? Are we not moving forward? Etc, etc.
The author uses Rooks (AKA crows) as a sort of metaphor on memory & thought & death. We are told of the life of William Bellman who at a young age killed a Rook on accident (sort of) while out with a group of friends. We follow William throughout the hardships and losses of his life until the time of his own death where he is forced to remember his past. I'll leave it there as to not throw out any spoilers.
Bellman & Black reminded me of one those old Dick and Jane books that have absolutely no real emotional plot of any kind but just kinda tells a story in sequence. See Dick run, see Jane run, see Dick and Jane run, see Dick and Jane tumble down a flight of stairs, see Dick and Jane die, the end. I'm sorry, but there was just no depth.
I had trouble trying to care or keep interest on any of the characters. Other than William Bellman, the characterization for his wife, daughter, uncle, family, neighbors, you name it, just wasn't there. It's as if a back story was started and present one minute and then it just dropped off the face of the planet.
When Mr. Characterization was present, it was pretty predictable. We all knew there would be no survivors. Oh, and what was the point of Seamtress #9?
I'm sorry, but there just was no story. I felt like I was reading a how-to-guide for running a dye mill &/or funeral shop, as that seemed where the author was most descriptive.
With all that being said, I did enjoy the writing style. A pretty easy flow to follow.