Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror #1)
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. (From GoodReads)
Have you ever heard the expression "book hangover"? Well, for me, a book hangover happens when you find a book that completely consumes you. It is all you can think about, and you walk around in a stupor for a few days. Guess what? That happened to me when I read Darkhouse.
Darkhouse, when you read the synopsis, seems like a typical thriller. But it is so much more. It is creepy, funny (believe it or not), very suspenseful and yes, thrilling. While much of the book is about Perry, her new partner Dex, and their haunted encounters at the lighthouse, Darkhouse is just as much about the perplexing relationship between the troubled duo.
Perry, from the get-go, is easy to love. She's doesn't have the perfect body or life. After struggling with low self-esteem and drug use throughout her teenage years, she has gotten her life in order, for the most part. She still struggles with her self-esteem and then there's the fact that she sees ghosts. Is Perry "off" mentally or is it that she's able to see what most can not?
Then there's Dex. Almost every book I read has a guy who is a complete hottie. Very tall, very muscled, defined abs, etc. That's all great, but Dex feels more like a real man to me. He's described as having a very "90's" look. He's on the thin side, not especially tall. A slight moustache, dark eyes, arched brows and a eyebrow ring. His voice is low and smooth or growling, depending on his mood. He has eyes that seem able to see inside a person. He is quick with a smirk. Perry says he "reminds me of Robert Downey, Jr. in his strung-out drug days". Believe me, it works for him. Besides the looks, there's Dex's odd personality. He's just, strange. His thought are often all over the place, confusing Perry. His words often lull her into a sense of trust and security, then he says something to totally screw the moment up. But, underneath the smirk and harsh words, there's a hint of a fragile man with a troubled past of his own.
Honestly, the driving force of the story is the relationship between Perry and Dex. The paranormal aspect of the story is gripping. Truly. But the collision of the two forces is what is electrifying. The relationship is antagonistic. Perry and Dex each seem determined to get under the other's skin. Say what will set the other on edge, or off the edge. They are cut from the same cloth. In many ways, each is a mirror of the other. I'm dying to see where the author, Karina Halle, takes their relationship in the future.
Speaking of Halle, the lady has knocked my socks off! She took Darkhouse, what could have been your typical scary book with snarky characters, and breathed life into it. This book has heart. Characters you want to see through to the very end. There are going to be a total of eight books in the Experiment in Terror series. I will most definitely read each and every one. I will be reviewing Book Two, Red Fox, later this week.
I love when a book has phrases that capture my attention. Darkhouse has many. Here are a few I want to share.
"Somehow, by dealing with the dead, I had never felt so alive." Chapter 11
" "How come you aren't afraid?'... 'Because I find life to be scarier to than death,' he replied matter-of -
factly." -Chapter 12
"A handsome, beguiling man whose eyes read your very soul and whose smirk held you in contempt."
You can learn more about the Experiment in Terror series, (including links to buy the books, info about author Karina Halle) at the Experiment in Terror website.
*I was given Darkhouse by the author, in exchange for an honest review.*