Author: Karina Halle
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
In a world where normal is totally over-rated, Perry Palomino has always been completely different from those around her. Her mom is a former Swedish supermodel, her little sister runs a successful fashion blog, and her dad is just kind of there when he’s not being a workaholic. Perry, on the other hand, is a 22-year old receptionist who floated through several different career ideas (including being a stunt-woman) before finally getting her degree in Advertising, a choice she often wishes she didn’t make. She’s stuck in a job she pretty much hates, has anxiety attacks when she makes phone calls to strangers, and basically just tries to get, always feeling like she’s destined for something different.
Then one weekend while visiting her uncle on the coast of Oregon, she stumbles across a strange man filming “ghosts” in her uncle’s decrepit lighthouse. She also stumbles across a creepy mystery and a few abilities that she never really knew she had (or once knew she had but forgot about). When Perry’s little sister gets sick and needs someone to update her blog (because as we all know, not posting for a single day can cost you massive amounts of readers, and not posting for a week is almost the kiss of death on certain types of blogs), Perry uses video and tales from her encounter at the lighthouse and, to her surprise, her video goes viral over night. Soon Perry is heading back to the lighthouse, with the mysterious stranger Dex, to film an internet television show.
I loved Darkhouse. Loved it, loved it, loved it. I can’t say it enough. I’ve never related to a character as much as I did to Perry Palomino. It’s like the author psychically read my currently unwritten autobiography or something, because I saw so much of myself in Halle’s main character. I think she had me at “Bad Religion t-shirt” (they are fantastic live, by the way), but when Perry starts talking about how she gets nervous calling someone, even just ordering pizza, and when she talks about her panic attacks, her insecurities regarding her weight, even her teenage years, it was like reading a book about myself! Well, except for the freaky ghost experiences Then again, I DID have a lot of very realistic imaginary friends when I was little, and ghosts are a major fixture in my family! Seriously, I was so in tune with Perry that when she was asked to read a book in the car, I thought “she can’t do that, she gets car sick!” and BAM, on the next page, Perry mentions how she gets car sick when she reads.
All the characters in Darkhouse are so realistically written. Dex curses like a sailor, and Perry isn’t much better, so if you’re offended by certain language, this is not the book for you. It didn’t bother me, but then, “strong language” never really does. To me, it added a more realistic dimension to the characters. Hardly anyone drops a “darn-it” bomb when they’re being tormented by evil, scared out of their minds, and lost track of the one person that was supposed to be in it with them. I also love that Dex isn’t the typical lead male character and potential love interest for the heroine of the story. Actually, he’s kind of the opposite of dashing and charming for most of this book. He’s really quite an arrogant jerk at times, but he has a strangely endearing underside that peeks out here and there throughout his time with Perry. Besides, Perry is just as sardonic as Dex, so they’re a good fit…if they actually get together (I’m not spoiling anything here, you’ll just have to see).
The paranormal mystery aspect was well-written too, but it was the characters that really drew me in, and the hint of more to come in the next parts of the Experiment in Terror series. There were a few scenes that really freaked me out. Lighthouses in general have a creepy atmosphere (if you’re keeping track of the things I’ve mentioned in book reviews that freak me out, so far it’s clowns, evil elderly people, snakes, and lighthouses), and one particular scene made me so nervous I had to call my dog to sit next to me (because, you know, dogs bark when there’s a ghost behind you).I could literally go on and on, but I’ll save some thoughts for when I review the next book in the series, “Red Fox,” next week.
You can purchase Darkhouse on Amazon for $2.99 for the Kindle, or $11.99 in paperback.