This book was provided to me by Schiffer Publishing Ltd. via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Eerie America: Travel Guide of the Macabre by Eric R Vernor & Kevin Eads
America is the land of the beautiful, but it is also a land of mystery and many haunted and bizarre places. With 150 images, addresses, and directions, go state-by-state to tour the macabre side of the United States. Journey to haunted old battleships, abandoned prisons, creepy lunatic asylums, the Amityville Horror House, the Winchester House, museums such as Edgar Allan Poe’s home, New Orleans Voodoo Museum, the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, and much more! In addition suggesting places to visit, where to stay, and places to eat, chapters on each state have a break down of how best to experience the curious and bizarre sometimes just a building and other times a whole town. Come on this unusual but richly satisfying tour. You won’t be disappointed. (via Goodreads)
Eerie America is a travel guide with a distinctly Discovery/SyFy channel sensibility. In fact, if you’re a fan of shows like Ghost Hunters, Haunted Highway, Destination Truth, and the host of similar shows available, you’ll be familiar with many of the places mentioned in this book. I’ll confess; one of my guilty pleasures is partaking in this sort of pseudo-scientific fare. Nothing passes the time like watching a bunch of people scare themselves in a “haunted” location.
The unfortunate part of reviewing this book as an e-ARC rather than owning a copy was that I couldn’t take a long trip across the United States, read up on each state’s particular peculiarities, and leisurely check attractions off the list. Reading the book straight through is not ideal. Despite a few macabre museums (like Minnesota’s Museum of Questionable Medical Devices) and fun tourist traps (like Nevada’s Extraterrestrial Highway), most of these places are haunts. Reading about the “most haunted” hotel/asylum/prison in the state/town/district becomes pretty repetitive after twenty entries in a row. I did really appreciate the “Where to Eat” entries. Food is an important part of travel! The other place this guide shines is in the little bits of practical advice: business hours, admission prices, and other physical consideration like lots of stairs or walking.
There were a couple areas that I wished were better. One was the longer articles. There were only two and a few more would have been nice. I would have liked to hear more in-depth stories about these places or maybe about the author’s experiences. The writing was occasionally a little wonky. Some sentences were clumsily constructed, probably in an effort to add some variability to descriptions. Most importantly, maps would be an excellent addition to this travel guide. While something big and fold out would be great, even state-level page-sized maps would be helpful. Otherwise, Eerie America is beautifully illustrated and designed.
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
Publication date: Feb. 28, 2014
Genre: Non-fiction, travel guide
Why did I choose to read this book? Sounded like fun