“Ex Libris The Eyes of Madness, simple reviews from a simple reader…”
Zakk reviews The Siren and the Specter by Jonathan Janz, 288 pages published by Flame Tree Press September 6th, 2018.
Paperback ARC provided by the publisher for review consideration.
Entertainment Value (Because the kids like numbers)
When David Caine, a celebrated skeptic of the supernatural, is invited by an old friend to spend a month in “the most haunted house in Virginia,” he believes the case will be like any other. But the Alexander House is different. Built by a 1700s land baron to contain the madness and depravity of his eldest son, the house is plagued by shadows of the past and the lingering taint of bloodshed. David is haunted, as well. For twenty-two years ago, he turned away the woman he loved, and she took her life in sorrow. And David suspects she’s followed him to the Alexander House.
Jonathan Janz is building quite the following as of late, with the strong releases of Children of the Dark, Exorcist Falls, and now this, The Siren and the Specter. I’d say it’s a deserved following what with the entertaining brand of fiction he has built over the years. I’ve read a handfull, coming into the Janz game a little later than some, but not as many as I would like. I can say that I have enjoyed all that I have read.
The Siren and the Specter is a fun read, gritty and dark. I freight train’d through this book in a matter of a few days (that is fast for me and my dwindling reading time). It is super fast paced and at times very gnarly in it’s delivery. An eclectic* cast drives this narrative of secrets & lies, depravity and wait.. what? Redemption? Quite possibly, for some.
*The cast is eclectic but with a few nutbag crazy wild cards thrown in for chaos factor. The odder the personality the more enjoyment I found. The Shelby clan is off-their-rocker level of crazy and they more than anyone else gave the promise that anything could happen.
From page one the energy is high, and the scares are solid. The ambiance is dark and there is enough gore to shake the most seasoned horror veteran.
My biggest hurdle to full entertainment of Siren was the main character, David Caine. I couldn’t buy in to this character wholeheartedly. David is a “celebrated skeptic of the supernatural” and paranormal debunker, we know this because Janz tells us this, but it isn’t something the book shows us. Within these pages, Caine is a half-assed investigator at best, at least when it comes down to his prime directive, that being the investigation of the Alexander House, the reason he is involved in this narrative. It’s a relatively small complaint, something others may not be affected by, but I feel it undermines his credibility.
A secondary hurdle, something I won’t fully get into for spoiler reasons, a seemingly integral aspect to the story comes off more as a after thought. It’s something I felt deserved a bit more “screen time”, almost as if something was cut due to page count and that there will be a longer “director’s cut” coming in the future. This is also a relatively small complaint, also something that other reader’s won’t blink an eye at.
Besides these two angles, The Siren and The Specter is a riot of a read. It’s something that should be on your TBR this season if not already, as I think you will dig it. I see that Flame Tree has more Janz in the pipeline, count me in.
I think you’ll dig this.
Put this Book on a Playlist With
Children Of The Dark (Janz), Island of the Forbidden (Hunter Shea)
What I Need to add to my TBR pile
Vintage and upcoming Janz
Zakk is a big dumb animal!
**Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and I am choosing to review it voluntarily. These are my honest, unbiased feelings. I did not receive any sort of compensation.
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