Thursday, August 1, 2013

Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror #1) by Karina Halle

Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror, #1)


(I downloaded this for free.)
With all the vampire, werewolf and faerie books out there, it's easy to become numb to all things supernatural. The antidote? Darkhouse introduces two real and unforgettable characters, Perry Palomino & Dex Foray, amateur ghost hunters who are "attractive, relatable and oddly heroic," "flawed but loveable," "slightly crazy" and just the most endearing pair to ever tackle the paranormal...just don't call them normal. Darkhouse is a thrilling and sexy new take on concepts like Supernatural and The X-Files, bringing a breath of fresh air to a genre that has been inundated with the dead.
"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 twen­tysome­thing, 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 hor­rific 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."

Released in May 2011, Darkhouse is the first book in an extensive series.  It's a New Adult/Horror hybrid, and a moody, compelling read. 
Perry is a struggling twenty-something working as a poorly-paid receptionist in an advertising agency, even though she has a college degree in advertising.  She hates her life of corporate drudgery, and keeps one foot in her rebel teen years by wearing Doc Martens and vintage t-shirts with her skirts.  She still lives at home,  drives a scooter, and is now plagued by nightmares so realistic they are affecting her days.  her tension builds until one day she sees a ghost in the lobby of her building.  Soon after she and her family travel to her uncle's for the weekend on the Oregon coast, and she is inexplicably drawn to the deserted lighthouse on her uncle's property.  Inside she finds terror, an evil presence, and an amateur ghost hunter named Dex.  Dex works for an internet web-show company, and is trying to get footage for a new series.
Dex is a heavily-drawn enigma.  He's thirty-two years old, and his behavior is a constant clash of nice Dex/weird Dex.  His constantly alternating, and manipulative behavior is bizarre and annoying.  Perry is drawn to Dex, but can't figure him out and has enough self-respect to not throw herself at him, finding him hypocritical and an enigma.  But she agrees to return to the lighthouse to film again, because she doesn't want an ordinary nine-to-five life, and this is her chance at something different.
Perry herself is very realistic.  She's insecure about her personal appearance but confident enough to have self-respect.  She has some self-awareness, but minimal introspection.  When she was younger she had many imaginary friends, but her parents were so alarmed they had her see a psychiatrist, and Perry has almost no memories of those years.
As Perry and Dex investigate the lighthouse again, the spooky events escalate to actual dangerous ones, and and mysterious links are discovered between Dex, Perry, and the spooky ghost lady.  Although Dex and Perry survive the investigation (barely), the book ends with them learning a great deal about each other, creating more questions than are answered and setting up the ghost-hunting duo for the next book.
Moody, creepy, and mysterious, Darkhouse walks the line between giving the reader enough information to compulsively keep going, while simultaneously keeping its secrets.

Click here for the Darkhouse Amazon page.

Click here for the Darkhouse Goodreads page.

Red Fox (Experiment in Terror, #2)  Dead Sky Morning (Experiment in Terror, #3)   Lying Season (Experiment in Terror, #4)  On Demon Wings (Experiment in Terror, #5)

About the Author:

Image of Karina Halle
The daughter of a Norwegian Viking and a Finnish Moomin, Karina Halle grew up in Vancouver, Canada with trolls and eternal darkness on the brain. This soon turned into a love of all things that go bump in the night and a rather sadistic appreciation for freaking people out. Like many of the flawed characters she writes, Karina never knew where to find herself and has dabbled in acting, make-up artistry, film production, screenwriting, photography, travel writing and music journalism. She eventually found herself in the pages of the very novels she wrote (if only she had looked there to begin with).
Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently splits her time between her apartment in downtown Vancouver and her sailboat, where a book and a bottle of wine are always at hand.
Darkhouse is her first novel and the first one in the Experiment in Terror Series. Things only get better from here on in.

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