Saturday, 10 September 2011

Book Review - Bad Spirits by D. V. Berkom

This might be a short novella, but gosh! Does it pack a punch!?! 

I have not been able to read for pleasure for over three weeks so to be able to sit down and read such intriguing little novel was a breather. 

Action packed, fast paced and blood smeared, this series has everything an action lover would die for: Good looking girl - falls for bad guy - realizes her mistake - tries to run away only to find out exactly how bad he really is. Oh yeah... Did I mention she also stole his money? Like... A lot of it? And that he is a big Mexican drug dealer? Yeah. You get the picture.

Told from Katie's (the runaway) point of view, the prose is brilliant and even though Berkom wastes no words describing the harshness of the environment our heroine finds herself in you can still feel the barrenness and heat of the Mexican desert as if you were there. 

The characters are interesting and there are a lot of them as on her efforts to run away Katie encounters a whole array of people. This is also where D.V.'s writing style shines - although there are a lot of characters you can still keep pace with who is who, what is their part in the story and none of them seem to be there for no reason. 

The plot is convincing and the story very intriguing. You feel for Katie, you want her to get away, but then... You wonder if she doesn't deserve it somehow. Her family surely seems to think she does. And some of her behavior makes you want to slap her.

For people who like to know the smallest detail about the characters in a book they are reading, this might not be a good choice. Not because the story isn't good or the writing isn't brilliant, but because of the nature of novellas. In such a small number of words you cannot really give a lot of background on someone or resolution to parts of the story. For example, even though they change her fate completely, all these people come into and out of Katie’s life in such a short period of time, how do they meet their own fates? This question and others are left unanswered. Not because of Berkom's writing skills, but because of the nature of short stories. I encountered the same issue while writing my own and reading a couple of the Quick Reads books (read my reviews here). They inevitably let me wanting more information and detail.

When I realized there was only 51 pages to the series I had to contact D.V. and ask her if I received the entire document. I thought my computer was playing tricks on me, especially since I knew the document I had was from book 1 to book 5! And I have to say, having written a short story recently, it is a lot harder to condense plot, story, good characters and a knock out ending - while making it convincing and interesting - into a short number of pages then it is to right a full blown novel, even though the novel takes longer because details require research kind of thing. So I take my hat off for Berkom. This is nothing if not an accomplishment. 

OUT OF CURIOSITY: Katie's adventures are not over. D.V. Berkom has written another two books to follow these ones. Find out more here

Book Rating: ****
To check the rating system click here.


  1. Thanks, Paula- you ROCK! I'm so glad you enjoyed Kate's adventures. They're a lot of fun to write :-) For anyone who has read or is reading Dead of Winter and Death Rites (the two novellas after Bad Spirits), the next in the series, Touring for Death, will be available later this month. (All are novella-length and filled with action and suspense;)
    Thanks again for the fantastic review!

  2. DVBerkom, that is fantastic writing.
    Some of the best stories I've ever read. I can't tell you what pleasure it gives me to read a fast-paced, action-packed novella. I have enjoyed immensely the first five that you have completed and look forward to reading more.


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