Saturday, October 6, 2012

Review: Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror #1) by Karina Halle

May 12, 2011 | Metal Blonde Books    
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

There's always been something a bit off about Perry Palomino. Though she's been dealing with a quarter-life crisis and post-college syndrome like any other twenty-something, she's still not what you would call "ordinary." For one thing, there's her past which she likes to pretend never happened, and then there's the fact that she sees ghosts. Luckily for her, that all comes in handy when she stumbles across Dex Foray, an eccentric producer for an upcoming webcast on ghost hunters. Even though the show's budget is non-existent and Dex himself is a maddening enigma, Perry is instantly drawn into a world that both threatens her life and seduces her with a sense of importance. Her uncle's haunted lighthouse provides the perfect catalyst and backdrop for a mystery that unravels the threads of Perry's fragile sanity and causes her to fall for a man, who, like the most dangerous of ghosts, may not be all that he seems.

Sexy stories, love stories, action-packed stories. I find that all of these are fairly easy to come by. But a story that I can describe as scary? Not so much. But Halle has a real talent for creating scenes that are frightening. Terrifying nightmares, a creepy old lady with lipstick-stained teeth and a maniacal smile, that dark shape in the water that slowly comes into focus as it floats its way toward gave me chills.

In addition to the story's scary atmosphere, we have a protagonist who is easy to like. She's self-doubting and lacking in confidence, but that's a part of what gives her depth and makes her so appealing. She's a little overweight, known throughout school as being the chubby girl and often teased for it, so she's understandably self-conscious. And I found myself feeling protective of her, getting angry on her behalf each time that anyone looked down on her for it. 

The story picks up when Perry joins her family on a visit to her uncle's home. She's drawn to his old, abandoned lighthouse where she has an odd encounter with a man named Dex, followed by an experience that leaves her completely unsettled.

Shortly after blogging about this strange occurrence in the lighthouse, she's contacted by Dex, producer/cameraman/cinematographer, who presents her with an offer that she can't refuse.  

As the story progresses, we learn more about Perry's troubled background and we learn very little about Dex. But what we do know about him is that he is turning Perry's world upside down ... maybe even in a good way.

She finds herself drawn to him, despite his unavailable status, and I can't wait to see how working together will affect their friendship in the series' sequel.  

I have to thank my Goodreads friends for bullying me into beginning this series. They always have the best recommendations. 


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