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THE HAUNTED EBOOK by J.L. Bryan presents an interesting conundrum for the average reader. On the one hand, the plot is not much deeper than the average Nightmare On Elm Street movie, or at least the first installment of that series. We get the origin of Jonah and establish his modus operandi.

We also get the Exceptional Female Heroine, who is just a bit brighter than Jonah's average victims and will present a challenge worthy of taking him out of his killing ways. So from a plot structure standpoint, THE HAUNTED EBOOK is not that dazzling. In fact, it could easily be considered pulp horror.

However, there's bad pulp horror, and there's good pulp horror. One tends to forget that some of the finest voices in horror and science fiction of the 1940s and 1950s got their start in the classic pulp magazines of the day. Ray Bradbury, Issac Asimov, Richard Matheson and countless others.

In that classic spirit, THE HAUNTED EBOOK is an example of good pulp horror. The prose is well-written, the plot and character development deftly handled, and the narrative contains an energy and verve that keeps the reader moving forward in a way that elevated the book above its pulpish structure.

There already exists significant proof Bryan's voice is one that will be up to the challenge of taking on more challenging plot structures in the future. His books JENNY POX and TOMMY NIGHTMARE are prime examples of what he can and has achieved so far.

That is the sense one gets when reading the "good pulp horror" that is THE HAUNTED EBOOK. That beneath the veneer of a rather standard plot structure lurks the heart of an outstanding genre writer, just yearning to break free.

As such, while THE HAUNTED EBOOK isn't J.L. Bryan's best work, it's most certainly engaging, and is the work where you can detect him sharpening his skills for the greater works to come. Recommended.
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