Monday, December 2, 2013

Review: Poe by J. Lincoln Fenn

Release Date: October 22, 2013
Publisher: 47north
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter

2013 Winner — Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award — Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror
It’s Halloween, and life is grim for 23-year-old Dimitri Petrov. It’s the one-year anniversary of his parents’ deaths, he’s stuck on page one thousand of his Rasputin zombie novel, and he makes his living writing obituaries.
But things turn from bleak to terrifying when Dimitri gets a last-minute assignment to cover a séance at the reputedly haunted Aspinwall Mansion.
There, Dimitri meets Lisa, a punk-rock drummer he falls hard for. But just as he’s about to ask her out, he unwittingly unleashes malevolent forces, throwing him into a deadly mystery. When Dimitri wakes up, he is in the morgue—icy cold and haunted by a cryptic warning given by a tantalizing female spirit.
As town residents begin to turn up gruesomely murdered, Dimitri must play detective in his own story and unravel the connections among his family, the Aspinwall Mansion, the female spirit, and the secrets held in a pair of crumbling antiquarian books. If he doesn’t, it’s quite possible Lisa will be the next victim.

Poe is what I would classify as Horror-Lite. That's not a bad thing, I really like soft-core horror stories. I'm not one of those readers who seeks out books where the boogeyman jumps out of the shadows on the last page and devours the main character. I do enjoy spooky stories with interesting protagonists. For me, Poe was a total winner in both categories.

Dimitri isn't anything special. Or so he thinks. His parents both died unexpectedly a year ago, and since then he's been sort of drifting around in a fog. He lives in a boring town, works at a crappy job, and goes home to a cramped apartment. And instead of going out with friends, he goes home to write more of his Rasputin zombie novel.
Yes, he knows it's a stupid premise...and about 500 pages too long. Thank you very much. 

When his paper sends him out on a special Halloween assignment to the old Aspinwall Manson, his life takes a disturbing turn for the worse. 
Although, he does manage to finally get a girlfriend...
Instead of just covering a hokey seance, he ends up accidentally waking up something evil. Things get a bit crazy in the mansion when the psychic breaks her ankle, and Dimitri ends up falling into a well. And then he wakes up in the morgue. At least he's not dead, right?
And what other prizes do we have for this young man?
That's right, folks! Waking up with a toe tag might seem like enough, but we're sending Dimitri home with some special parting gifts! 

Now he's got a freaky ghost who may or may not be trying to help him, and a sadistic demon who may or may not have possessed Lisa's brother. There's also the question of why he found a powerful manuscript hidden inside a stuffed animal from his childhood.
Don't judge him. I have a ratty bunny in my closet named Pookey. And he doesn't belong to my kids.

Dimitri is the main reason I enjoyed this book so much. He's not a bad-ass, but he is decent, funny, and fairly sensible. For example, when the spooky spirit started leaving cryptic messages around his apartment, he didn't try to decipher their meanings. Nope, he just tossed some alphabet magnets on his fridge and told the ghost to 'use words'. Hilariously simple! And maybe that's why I had so much fun with this one. Dimitri accepts the strange new world that he's been introduced to, but he keeps his average Joe personality. He's not laugh-out-loud funny, but he has a naturally humorous voice that added something special to the story.

If you're in the mood for true love with a side of demon possession, give this book a try!


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