By: Brant Vickers
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: September 27, 2022
Review Date: March 9, 2023
From seasoned author Brant Vickers comes his third novel entitled Culver City, a story of paranormal experiences and the unbreakable bond between young friends. At first glance, Culver City appears to be a ghost story, but anyone who reads the book can attest to the fact that the supernatural occurrences are just the beginning of a much more elaborate tale.
Looking for something to do, in the summer of 1969, best friends Cassady and Kyle sneak into one of MGM’s backlots, completely unsuspecting of what they will encounter there. While they explore the old Gone with the Wind set, the boys encounter actors from the movie that have been dead for many years, including Vivien Leigh and Leslie Howard. At first, the boys are terrified and run home that night, not knowing what to think of what they have just experienced. After thinking it over and discussing it with each other, they decide to go back to see if they will experience the same paranormal activity again or if they simply imagined it. They do, indeed, witness the dead actors again and many more present themselves to Cassady and Kyle. Though the boys notice a feeling of abnormality around the “ghosts,” they somehow know with certainty that they will not hurt the boys. From this point on, Cassady and Kyle visit the backlots almost every night, spending hours there, getting to know the actors, both as who they played in the movies and who they were outside the movies.
Cassady finds himself growing more and more curious about the dead actors he is meeting on the backlots, so he begins visiting the library regularly to conduct research. This draws the attention of the librarian, Miss Rigby. Eventually, she begins to ask Cassady why he is researching topics such as the backlots, Gone with the Wind, and dead actors. Before he can try to make up an excuse, she proceeds to tell him that she has seen him and Kyle sneaking into the backlots at night because the fence they jump over is right behind her house. Miss Rigby further amazes Cassady by telling him that her father is none other than the famous actor Leslie Howard, who Cassady has encountered on the backlots in ghost form. This leads to a friendship developing between the librarian and the boys, while simultaneously, Cassady is entering into a relationship with a girl named Brie Ann. As situations become more complicated and more people become involved, the boys have an argument about continuing to enter the backlots. This will eventually test their friendship and lead to an astounding ending that no reader will see coming.
Vickers has written a truly unique tale with Culver City. At first glance, it seems like an ordinary ghost story, but it encompasses so much more than that. Readers who enjoy paranormal activity stories will appreciate the time that Vickers devotes to that in this book. Vickers also does a superb job of developing charismatic, relatable characters who readers will love. Not only are the characters well developed in this story, but the relationships among them are as well.
Quill says: Vickers has, undoubtedly, achieved success with his intriguing novel Culver City. It is a mystery, a ghost story, a love story, a story of friendship, and a story of loss all in one compelling book. There is truly something for every reader in this captivating tale.
To learn more about Culver City, please visit the author’s website at https://brantvickers.com/