Author Jack Sparks is an arsehole, he really is incredibly unpleasant. A man looking out for himself who has no qualms who he pisses off and how, as long as he gets what he wants. He courts a social media world, and sees online followers as some badge of honour. Having written books on gangs and drugs (where he ended up trying every drug imaginable…for research purposes obviously), Jack is now looking for a new challenge, this time he is looking to debunk the supernatural world.
Now, spoilers can be a real pain, but bizarrely I can tell you that Jack Sparks dies in this book, yes, you read that correctly! As the title suggests, we follow Jack through his Last Days. Days fuelled with drink and drugs, sex and violence, guilt, estrangement and unrequited love, oh, and the supernatural.
When a video appearing to show a ghost is mysteriously uploaded to his YouTube account. Sparks travels from Italy (where he has already claimed an exorcism he saw to be an elaborate hoax) to Los Angeles (via Hong Kong), as he investigates the clips origins.
The story is mostly told in Jacks hand. Due to his demise, Jacks brother Alistair finished the book by contributing notes and corrections, as well as some extra interviews with people that Jack had met throughout the investigation. This offers a very interesting aspect to the story as sometimes the information gathered by the brothers contradict each other. What’s fact or fiction?
This is a dark book, it’s also incredibly funny, actually, it’s genuinely laugh-out-loud funny. What it wasn’t, for me anyway, was scary. The humour mostly nullifies the scares, there are certainly moments of tension and unease throughout, but I was possibly expecting more scares. Arnopp does a great job in keeping you alongside Sparks. On several occasions I actually started to like him only for him to go and do, or say. something abhorrent. He’s an unreliable narrator that you just can’t help liking (sometimes).
Following Jack can make you feel somewhat grubby, you will question a lot of his actions and motives, but it’s a journey well worth taking especially as it will bring you to a truly spectacular conclusion. A conclusion that left me slack-jawed and thinking about the book long after I had finished.
I really do recommend you join Jack Sparks for his Last Days!