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  • Writer's pictureHannah Zunic

This is a PSA, Don't Do Drugs: A Review of Ghost Eaters by Clay McLeod Chapman

Hello, Book Nerds! Welcome back to Reading Has Ruined My Life or welcome if you are new. As always, my name is Hannah and I am your captain on this journey into my bookcases.


Bridgerton fans, how are y’all doing? Are you good? Are you recovering from the first half of season three? Do you need some snacks? Do you need water or wine to help your recovery? I honestly have no idea how I’m doing cause I’m writing today’s review well before Bridgerton season three drops. I’m going to assume I am a mess.

Update, I have watched season three and I am not okay. Past me was correct, I am a mess.

Gossip Girl
I've yet to take my diadem off.

As much as I’d love to sit here and talk about Bridgerton, I am not doing that today. We’ll be doing that again fairly soon. Today I have a book to talk about. A spooky read too, I may add. Can’t stay away from them for long. Plus it’s truly been awhile, RHRML is overdue for a spooky review.


Speaking of, today I’m reviewing Ghost Eaters by Clay McLeod Chapman! Please give the star of our show a big round of applause.

Book cover of Ghost Eaters by Clay McLeod Chapman.

Synopsis time now. As always, a spoiler alert is in order. Long term readers know the drill, I love to the spoil the majority of the books I read. This is your one and only warning. I also must issue a content and trigger warning. Ghost Eaters deals with drug use and abuse. There is no escaping this topic so if it’s not something you can deal with at this current time I highly suggest skipping this book and review. I also must let readers know that there is some body horror at the very end of the novel. It’s not overly gory but it did make my skin crawl. With that, it’s synopsis time.


Erin and Silas are that on-again, off-again couple we all know. They burn bright and fast and are toxic as hell. And no matter how many years pass, they can’t get away from each other. Despite being broken up, Silas continuously worms his way back into Erin’s life. He asks her to pick him up from rehab, she does. He asks to crash on her couch, she allows it. He continues to abuse drugs, she plans an intervention that ends with her saying she hates him and that she never wants to see him again only for him to be found dead just a few days later.


Erin’s world is officially turned upside down. Silas’s death is sudden, she feels bad about what she said to him the last time she saw him and how things ended; she wants to apologize and make things right. Except she can’t. Until a friend of hers offers her a drug that will allow her to see Silas again. According to her friend, this drug, named Ghost, will be Erin’s salvation.


Armed with this unknown drug, Erin consumes it all in hopes she’ll be able to see Silas one last time. One last time to make amends and say goodbye. Alas things aren’t that simple. This mystery drug comes with some wild side effects. Side effects that may or may not include seeing ghosts everywhere, and those ghosts may or may not also be drawn to her thanks to the drugs she’s taken. Now she’s not only haunted by Silas’s memory, but by every ghost she encounters.


Will Erin get the closure she so desperately needs? Will Ghost take over her life? Will she ever not be haunted? Or will she be able to lose all her ghosts? Find out in Ghost Eaters.

Lots and lots of creepy ghosts in this read.

Alright, let’s get into the nitty gritty. This book has a lot going on. First of all, Ghost Eaters is a deep dive into America’s drug problem and how easy it is for people to fall to substance abuse. It’s an extremely important conversation to have and the author does an incredible job with the subject. It’s nuanced. It made me as a reader feel uncomfortable which is what the author set out to do. I applaud Clay McLeod Chapman for this part of the story, and it’s definitely the strongest part of the novel.


So it comes as no surprise when I say a lot of this book is people doing drugs. But I ultimately got bored. I get drug abuse is a main part of the story, the main character takes a drug and it causes her to see ghosts, but for 100 pages it’s nothing more than people doing drugs, being high as a kite, and talking about drugs. I was bored. I wanted the spooky vibes to start. I wanted the spooky story to start. Once I got the aforementioned spooky story, it blew my mind. This is a short, quick read though, and 100 pages with no ghosts greatly displeased me. The supernatural element could of, and should of, been brought in earlier.


Like I said though, once the spooky, supernatural elements began I was enraptured. Clay McLeod Chapman has written one of the most descriptive pieces of literature I’ve read in ages. Every scene was a movie playing out in my head. Every poor, lost soul was different from the next. They’re all memorable despite only being seen once for a fleeting moment. The gore and body horror I mentioned in my content warning certainly made my skin crawl. The author paints an extremely vivid picture. I will be reading more from Clay McLeod Chapman purely for his descriptive talent.

Woman clapping.
Applause for the author!

Honestly, this book is wild! There are not only instances of pure horror, but raw, authentic human moments between the characters. There is a perfect balance between the horror and the realistic elements. Seriously, this book is so good! It's so good, I ruined my sleep schedule to finish it; I haven’t had one of those in quite some time. I would have read it in a single sitting if I could have.


The only other issue I have with Ghost Eaters comes in the epilogue. And only the very, very end of the epilogue. Clay McLeod Chapman leaves readers with a very open ended ending, and while I typically like this type of ending, this one wasn’t my favorite. Spoilers ahead. You can scroll past my favorite bears if you don’t want the end spoiled.


The mushroom used to make the Ghost drug is found alive and thriving at the end. Erin picks some. I get this event plays into the topic of her being a recovering addict and is falling prey to the drug once again, but it feels wrong to me. After everything she went through and did to destroy the mushrooms via fire, I don’t feel any would have survived. Had Erin not plucked a mushroom and instead walked away from it while still knowing where she could find it in the future, I think I would have liked the ending more. It would still be open ended and have the same gravitas the author was going for. This is all just my personal opinion, feel free to disagree with me on this and find the ending to be perfect the way it is.

Bears waving.
Spoilers overs!

With that, I must bid you all adieu. I shall see you all again next week with another new review. If you can’t wait that long then you can always check out my podcast Nothing to See Hear. It’s hosted by me and two of my friends. You can find the show on Spotify and YouTube. Let me tell you a spooky story, or you can learn all about some weirdo in history, therapy speech, or listen to us all talk about the one and only Scooby-Doo.


But until next week, stay safe, wash your hands, and read some good books for me.

Bears waving.
See y'all then, bye!


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