Top critical review
... Scariest Places series and have read all of them pretty quickly. I think he does a great job ...
Reviewed in the United States on June 21, 2018
I definitely appreciate Bates' World's Scariest Places series and have read all of them pretty quickly. I think he does a great job with educating the reader about these places and the culture they're embedded into; I feel like I'm getting a little history lesson while reading. I can't say Mountain of the Dead was a "bad" book or a "weak" entry into the series. If anything, Helltown seems out of place with the other titles in the series. However, being that Mountain of the Dead is the latest in the series and the last one I have read, I'm more aware of some annoying repetitive tendencies that Bates has in his writing. In many instances, I felt like I was reading the same story but in a different setting. There is a formula to these books, and aside from Helltown, they all seem to follow it. I understand there's a horror aspect to the series, and like slasher films, there is a formula to adhere to. Because I enjoy Bates as a writer and applaud what he does well and what he does to educate the reader about the various places he brings us to, I feel he does himself a disservice to fall into formulaic cliches. Does the protagonist ALWAYS have to have nightmares and dream about the female character being naked? Does there ALWAYS have to be an out of place sex scene (ie. Island of the Dolls, wtf??)? Do our characters ALWAYS have to wander around for so long in these locations before any kind of action / revelation occurs? Had it not been for Helltown (which isn't the best in the series), each book would pretty much read the same way linearly. Guy has troubled past, guy is haunted by event from troubled past, guy goes to scary location with cookie-cutter side characters, a lot of meandering at location, some back story, guy has nightmares, guy and girl have sex in random weird place no one would ever want to have sex in, scarier stuff happens, mystery solved (sometimes disappointing), cookie-cutters die, rushed ending. I enjoy the series, and don't want to get bored with it. I'd just like it if Bates changed it up a little bit.