Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror #1) by Karina Halle Promises of a Strong Series


To be honest with you, I was not sure what I was expecting when I grabbed my copy of Darkhouse. I scanned the description and saw a diss on the whole lovey-dovey vampires craze, a promise of something other than zombies – I am a fan of zombies, but sometimes you want something else when you search for horror – and nothing too childish. X files and Supernatural were also mentioned. In short, I was sold before I even got to looking at the actual plot description.

The book starts at a pace, a nightmare which introduces us to the… well, let’s call her the heroine of the book. Perry Palomino. The nightmare itself was ok, nothing too creepy, but a solid start to the tale. These become a recurring item throughout the book, visions and nightmares alike, all slowly tying together.

I like Perry. Why? well, she is not you typical action hero, movie girl. If they ever make a movie of this it will be a tough role to cast. Perry is short, kind of frumpy, more round around the middle than other places, and generally you everyday, ordinary-meet-on-the-street woman. In short, she was believable. A stark contrast to her tall, skinny, more attractive sister. A comparative device used well by the author.

The book is very much a tale of two halves. We are with Perry as she visits family; her uncle, and one night while out on the beach with her cousins, sister and friend, decides to break, and into a lighthouse that her Uncle owns. It is here that the real spooky stuff begins. These passages were well written and moved at a brisk pace which kept the tone in line. It was here we meet Dex, the hero of the tale. A ghost hunter / jack of all trades that Perry feels an instant pull to. Her feelings for him change, but not in error. They are well accounted for and serve as an interesting plot device.

Dex is a dark character, we are never sure of his true intentions, not until the end of the book that is, but even then, there are a lot of unanswered questions regarding him. He is an interesting character, and while his ‘relationship’ with Perry is not all too believable at first, things do improve. If it was intentional or not I cannot be sure, but on some level, it works.

The biggest problem I had with the book was the rather slow sections focused on Perry’s day job, her lack of enjoyment and bitchy colleague, and her parents, who we see rather little of. It didn’t really have much to do with the plot, and could have been further thinned without much trouble. That being said, I have a feeling the job will play a role in the other novels in the series so I will give the benefit of the doubt.

The novel really gains momentum in the second half, as the pair team up and head back to the lighthouse to make the first episode of – what I assume the series will be based around – their ghost hunting show. We finally learn about the lighthouse and make it all the way to the top. The action comes thick and fast, the atmosphere is creepy and the jumps were well written and executed smoothly.

The story rises well to the setting and overall it was a satisfying and well-rounded end in terms of action. That being said, there were a lot of unanswered questions. The final pages clarify a little, but only by way of promising answers at a later date. If this applies for the main ghost of this tale or not I am not sure. I hope so, as the important questions…Why?, was no answered.

Throughout the whole book there was only once scene that I disliked, and when you get to it, for I don’t wish to spoil anything, I am sure you will see it too. It was creepy, trapped in the woods, and lost, but it made no sense, and was never really alluded to again. I got the impression that maybe some things were cut from the first draft that may have expanded this scene a little.

All in all the book was a very fun and easy read, even if there was a little too much romance or romantic thoughts in this case, for my liking, I will certainly read the other titles in the series.


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