Yet again, this book is two books in one and, yet again, I have read this book before. Most of the books I'm going to review during the Reading Trail I have read. With some of them it's been a while and with some of them it's been forever since I've read them. A few of them will be new to me. It all just depends.
I would have to start out by saying that The Haunting of Derek Stone: The Red House & The Ghost Road was much better than The Haunting of Derek Stone: City of the Dead & Bayou Dogs. The writing quality was much improved and the story was portrayed nicely. Most of the problems from the last book were barely evident if at all. Again the book started out telling what was going to happen but in a much less subtle way. It started with a scene from later in the book then went back and explained it. This is a writing technique I haven't tried yet but it seems to work for quite a few people. The scenes were all spaced out just right except for fighting scenes, where the narrator (or Derek) was slightly confused and it was portraying the scenes as he saw or remembered them. Everything that happened in this book made sense. Well, as much sense a a book about dead souls taking over bodies can make.
You learn a lot more about Derek's personality. For instance on page 261: "This isn't going to kill us, is it?" Abby asked when I lowered the hatch over us and shut it tight. "You bet it will," I said. No laugh? Fine. At least she was there. Throughout the book he says things like this, joking in times of stress. I find it strange that the author is showing more of Derek's personality when he has just found out that really he is one of the 'translated' dead, Ulysses Longtemps. I guess it's just a case of poetic irony. I wonder if the author (Tony Abbott) even realizes that's what he did.
The ending of the series was pretty standard. Though it ended like a lot of the Syfy movies I watch with my Papa. You know it's over but they still leave something just in case they decide to make another one. And it's just enough to make you think. At the end of this book the First escapes (pg. 280) leaving you to wonder if he's going to open the Wound again or still attempt to go after Derek. K still has the book (pg. 216) leaving you to wonder if he has some own personal reason to want it (maybe I should start posting spoiler alerts at the beginning of these). Who knows? No one but Tony Abbott, most likely.
Overall, I would recommend this book (if you like things like zombies and ghosts), though you'd have to read the first one to understand everything that's going on. You'll appreciate how the author's writing gets better and how the story progresses. The character's are lively not flat or dull. It may not be the best thing you've ever read but it still may be a great way to escape your real life and problems for the ones of Derek Stone.
The next book along the Reading Trail? The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe (oooh, a romance).