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Carol for a Haunted Man

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CAROL FOR A HAUNTED MAN is the tale of a daunted man’s will to succeed in the face of despair, inspired by, and in homage to, the Christmas stories of Charles Dickens.

As some authors dream into the very fabric of their life's narrative, Jacob Martin attempts to reestablish the comforts of his childhood by moving back to the street where he grew up. Lost in life, newly divorced, and separated from his three young kids, Jacob is driven to write a book worth remembering, as a way of giving his life a new lasting purpose and meaning.

Finding himself at a standstill on the novel, a lonely recluse during the holidays, Jacob manages to connect with an attractive woman, and befriend an older man from his distant past, an author like himself. As Jacob soon discovers, nostalgia can be a healthy distraction, or it can be the noose by which one hangs.

87 pages, Kindle Edition

Published December 14, 2016

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About the author

John Brhel

19 books68 followers
I'm the co-author of Tales From Valleyview Cemetery, Marvelry's Curiosity Shop, At The Cemetery Gates: Year One and Carol for a Haunted Man, Corpse Cold: New American Folklore, Her Mourning Portrait and Other Paranormal Oddities, Resurrection High , At The Cemetery Gates: Volume 2 and The Thrumming Stone with my long-time friend Joe Sullivan.

I work full-time as a marketing/PR professional at Binghamton University. I enjoy writing, reading, watching movies, playing music, and spending time with my family.

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8 (40%)
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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Profile Image for Cameron Chaney.
Author 6 books1,840 followers
December 29, 2017
Carol for a Haunted Man is a love letter to the Christmas stories of Charles Dickens. It follows an author named Jacob Martin who is struggling with writer's block after his wife leaves him. He misses his children very much and has picked up some unhealthy habits due to his sadness. He decides to move back to the street he grew up on, hoping to reignite his creative spark, and ends up living in the house of Thomas Herrick, an author who killed himself when Jacob was a kid. Little does Jacob know that the spirit of Thomas Herrick still lingers in the house and the two form a bond through their writing and pain. Jacob's life starts coming back together and his writing career skyrockets with the help of his new ghostly comrade.

I loved all of this and found myself connecting very much to the story, that is until Jacob starts dating a woman who takes him away from his time with Herrick. Herrick doesn't really come back into the story until the end when . This felt a bit out of place in such a mature and reserved story. I really liked the scenes where the two authors are just talking about writing. They were very insightful scenes and were full of wisdom. I was hoping the story would just be about their friendship, but the aspect kind of took away from that.

What would have been nice was if the authors formed a writing partnership that bridged the gap of life and death, causing Jacob's book sales to pick up and Herrick's old books to go back in print. It would have been a touching ending that comes full circle, especially considering John Brhel's and Joe Sullivan's writing partnership.

But regardless, Carol for a Haunted Man is a beautifully written Christmas novella that I highly recommend picking up, especially considering how quick it is to read. And the cover art alone is a beautiful work of art that I wouldn't mind hanging on my wall.

Overall, 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Ramona Plant.
753 reviews20 followers
December 26, 2016
Carol of a Haunted Man is a lovely novella I would call it since it is on the shorter side. The author skillfully follows the story of Jacob who is down on his luck loosing his kids in the divorce with his wife. Life seems to be painful but you follow his journey on how to grow through it all. Jacob was an author but over time lost his drive to write. Now down on his luck he finally picks it up again with an adorable sidekick Herrick. Herrick is important for Jacob to grow and develop his writing skills. There are some nice twists in this book that I do not want to give away and want you to find out for yourself.

I enjoyed following Jacob in this journey of self discovery. It has a nice amount of paranormal thrown into it to make it my kind of read.

I have received this book from the author for an honest review. (LoP, Lovers of Paranormal)
Profile Image for David Veith.
500 reviews
January 18, 2022
Overall, a solid 3. Very quick read, decent flow.

Spoilers below.

Story of a man who has just been divorced and is moving on with his life. He is an author and having issues writing a new story. The house he moves into (on the same st he grew up on)has a ghost who was an author too, and he helps him rediscover his writing. Then his new girlfriend turns out to be a crazy person who was making him sick to take care of him. She is stopped and he moves on. For what it was, it was a decent story, but felt the writing to be a bit over the top at times. For a quick read it felt like it was trying to be a more indepth story.
Profile Image for Jeff Raymond.
3,092 reviews180 followers
May 11, 2017
Brhel and Sullivan have consistently made some solid, good-to-great nostalgia pieces in the weird/horror realm, and Carol for a Haunted Man may be their best yet. A read designed to harken back to the holiday stories of Charles Dickens, this novella is a really engaging, strange tale that both grabs the dark side of writing as well as gives a cautionary tone for dwelling too much on things that we can no longer control. The story structure, the characters, the surprises, they’re all put together in a way we haven’t seen from this team yet, and the longer format (compared to their collections of short stories) really lends itself to giving some breathing room to the overall plot.

This is one you shouldn’t miss, especially if you’re looking for an unsettling read during the holidays.
Profile Image for Melody.
Author 9 books25 followers
December 3, 2017
The blurb is as crisp and clever as the writing within the novella-- I'd contend that Carol for a Haunted Man is some of Brhel and Sullivan's best work. Many descriptions within the novel are stark and cold, while others are so lucid that the whole scene blurs-- both of these are good things, and they do not clash within its pages. The word choice is whip-smart, and I found myself grinning a little at Jacob's thought trains, simply because the entire fabric of the story is so concrete and well-rounded. Nothing feels empty, which is quite a feat in novella form; the story is so sure of itself, set on a solid foundation, even if Jacob rarely is. I obviously enjoyed the read! Great suspenseful read for the season!
Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews

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