Jack Sparks is a legend in his own
lifetime. He is a writer, social media celebrity and unashamed narcissist with
a rabid cult-following and an ego to match. For his latest book, ‘Jack Sparks
on the Supernatural’, he intends to prove that the paranormal is garbage. He
doesn’t care who he tears down in his quest, so long as Jack Sparks remains the
star of the show. And if he discovers that the paranormal actually does exist?
Simple. Jack will ignore it. Jack Sparks is never wrong.
Except Jack Sparks is about to get an
Things start going bad when he attends the
exorcism of a young Italian girl and, convinced that the whole performance is
staged, laughs at the wrong moment. You should never laugh at the Devil. Since
that night Jack has followed a combat magician in Hong Kong and joined a
paranormal group in LA on an experiment to manufacture a ghost a ’la the famous
‘Philip’ experiment of the 1970s. En route there are cameo appearances by ‘The
Blair Witch Project’s Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick and legendary film
producer Roger Corman, all of whom Jack suspects might have planted a
disturbingly realistic ghost video on his website. But when he is joined in LA
by his platonic flatmate Bex, who is seemingly on the rebound from an
unfaithful boyfriend, things seem to be looking up for Jack. But Jack is at the
summit of a monstrous slide into the abyss, because events are about to turn
(quite literally) bloody terrifying.
Don’t you just hate jumping on a bandwagon?
‘The Last Days of Jack Sparks’ has already earned a multitude of ecstatic
reviews, and this is another one. It is scary, disturbing, funny, almost
impossible to put down, and scores a massive bullseye in its dissection of vapid
celebrity culture and the YouTube generation. Just as impressively, Jason
Arnopp succeeds in making his rather unpleasant title character a charismatic
and compelling leading man, even if you never quite feel sorry for what happens
to him at the end.
Does it work as a horror story? Mostly,
although we didn’t find it as creepy as other reviewers. But it’s a pretty
solid primer on the worlds of the paranormal, touching everything from exorcism
to trapped spirits to tulpa’s to time travel – Arnopp has obviously done his
research. And the final coda, supplied by an afterword from Jack’s brother,
ties the whole story up in quite a brilliant bow and then slams us on our heads.
THE LAST DAYS OF JACK SPARKS / AUTHOR: JASON ARNOPP / PUBLISHER: ORBIT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW