"Ghosts of the Poconos" Book Review
Written by Angry Scholar
Published by Schiffer Publishing
Written by L’Aura Hladik Hoffman
2017, 160 pages, Non-Fiction
Released on February 28th, 2017
In traditional publishing, manuscripts go through some sort of review or editorial process. Commercial presses employ full-time, professional editors. Submissions to academic presses and journals go through the additional stage of peer review. All of this helps ensure that what gets published has some value, be it artistic, scientific, or whatever, for someone other than the author.
Ghosts of the Poconos appears not to have undergone any such review process. The book is a disjointed collection of travel-brochure-like vignettes, for lack of a better term, about Pennsylvania buildings and businesses with supernatural associations. (The author herself describes it as “a travel guide to the haunted locations.”) Each chapter introduces a new place (often a restaurant), usually featuring saccharine descriptions of menu items and exhorting the reader to include the business in their travel plans. They also include lengthy anecdotes about strange noises or ghostly presences and descriptions of the author’s own “scientific” investigations, usually positioned as somehow authoritative.
The entire book is poorly edited (if at all), with inexplicably huge margins and small type. The author considers herself an expert ghost-hunter, going so far as to include a chapter on “Paranormal Investigating Basics,” but the attempt at professionalism is undercut by the poor writing and advertisement-like descriptions of local businesses.
It does offer some moments of unintentional comedy, as in this aside during a description of a restaurant:
We did notice a foul odor on this last visit. It would have made for a great story to say that it was the funk of a demon, but that is not the case. Apparently, there were some septic issues going on, and that was the source for the odor.
As anyone can tell you, possible hauntings and “septic issues” are great ways to attract customers to your boutique dining experience.