by Glen Cadigan
I imagine the hardships that come with enduring PTSD are formidable enough, particularly after serving in a war, that the idea of encountering the supernatural would only exacerbate things. That's part of the story with this novella by Glen Cadigan, as a young war veteran struggles to go through civilian life while seeking treatment for his PTSD, as well as contend with the ghosts residing in the Berkeley tower where he worked as night watchman.
In a story narrated by a young man whose name I believe is ever revealed in the course of the book, my initial preconceptions of this being a spooky ghost story were put to rest pretty quickly, as there is very little suspense or actual scares. This is more of a contemporary story that includes some paranormal activity as a backdrop. The real focus of the story is on the war vet's growing obsession with the truth behind the apparitions he sees throughout the building as he goes on his nightly patrols. But he can't just go around asking the other people in the building about it, because he's already getting sideways glances and rumors spread about him after his initial encounter with a ghost.
The story is an interesting one, and the narrator provides a unique character in a ghost story. The pace slows to a crawl at times though, and if it wasn't for my overall affinity for ghost stories I would have probably set it down by the midway point. I'm biased, as when I see a ghost story titled Haunted, I wants ghosts by the bowful, and I felt too many were left offstage, so to speak, and only alluded to by the narrator. I stuck with it, and while the payoff isn't quite what I expected as far as the mystery of the ghost sightings, the character growth had good progression and it felt like the young protagonist was going to have as close to a happy ending as was reasonable.