The Siren and The Specter – Jonathan Janz

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There’s atmosphere a plenty in Jonathan Janz’s latest, THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER. Creepiness and dread oozes from each subsequent page after page. David is a cynic. He has to be. It’s his job. Debunking hauntings has paved the way for a decent living. Now David’s college pal invites him to Virginia to write about the place he and his wife just bought, the notorious Alexander House. Chris and Katherine hand over the keys and David plans on staying in the house for a month. Their motive for having David write about the house is clear. Publicity. David is a best-selling author and they want him to write about his experience to drum up publicity as they plan to make the house a tourist attraction. David doesn’t mind. He’s disproved more haunted houses than he can count. In fact, he’s yet to find any credible evidence to support hauntings and his skepticism has sold a ton of books. Why should the Alexander House be any different? Well, guess what? This house isn’t like all the rest and it’s due to Judson Alexander, the man who built the house back in the 1700s. He was one nasty S.O.B.and he’s not ready to vacate the premises anytime soon.

SIREN has a lot going for it. Janz creates interesting characters and David is the one that’s fleshed out the most. So much so, that his character has created some nice discussions when we read this as a group. To some, he’s an egotistical shit head that deserves all the nastiness that comes his way. For others, myself included, I found that his college past seemed to lead to an unfortunate turn of events, but not one that he should be solely blamed for. Characters with this much layered depth stick with you, rattling around in your psyche, long after the story has been put back on the shelf. That’s a good thing. Emotions run deep in SIREN. You have characters you feel for, some you relate to, and others that you absolutely loathe. There’s a lot there. Sometimes too much. And thats the only negative that I have. Specters make up the mother load of story. Ahh…but it’s called The SIREN and the Specter and I felt the siren is a little out of place in the tale. I simply think that it didn’t add anything and really wasn’t necessary. Others may think otherwise. Have yourself a go at it and decide for yourself.

3 1/2 Skeletons in the Closet out of 5
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The Mark – Lee Mountford

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The combination of old school and modern horror merge nicely in this demonic ghost story from Mountford. Imagine, if you will, you’ve had a rough week and you’re still trying to get the remnants of an abusive relationship out of your system. So blowing off a little steam at the local pub with your friends seems like as good of a way to spend a Friday night as any. You take a taxi home, a little worse for wear, but nothing a good night’s sleep and some Advil in the morning won’t take care of. You pass out and in the middle of the night you’re awakened to hear an intruder creeping up your stairs. You attempt to get away, but he gets the best of you. Thinking you’re about to meet your end, he pulls out a syringe, jams it in your neck and depresses the plunger. Out go the proverbial lights. When you awaken, its morning, you’re lying facedown on the kitchen floor, no one is in the house with you and you have these strange symbols carved on your back bleeding through your shirt.

What the hell, right? That’s exactly what I was thinking while I was reading this. Mountford does a great job with character development in THE MARK. Not only do you feel for Kirsty, you’re walking in her shoes every step of the way. You’re trying to figure out just what in the hell is going on. All the while, Mountford keeps dropping these creepy, skincrawling scenes on you and he does it with such a nice touch. There’s a slow build up of dread, as he builds the characters and atmosphere, and slowly unwinds the story. At times, he dangles you over the edge for a few moments before he plunges you over the edge. And this is where his story telling is a cut above many of his peers. He doesn’t just beat you over the head repeatedly without giving you a chance to think or care. No, he dangles the danger just out of your reach and makes you crane your neck to try an peer around that corner and get just a glimpse of what lies ahead. He makes you want it and that’s why I enjoyed this story so much. This is my first time reading Mountford and I’m impressed. I think you will be too.

4 1/2 Codex Gigas out of 5
You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

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Goodreads Horror Aficionados October 2018 Group Read with Guest Authors, Lee Mountford and Glenn Rolfe

 

Our favorite month is almost upon us! Ahhh…October. The month of falling leaves, jack-o-lanterns, trick or treating, and a scary yarn or two to raise the hairs on the back of your neck!

I want to invite you all to join us this month on the Goodreads group, Horror Aficionados, as we read the latest books of two up-and-coming heavy hitters in the world of horror.

In fact, we’re DYING to introduce you to our first featured author, Lee Mountford. Lee has had a busy year and a half since he released his first book, Horror in the Woods. Since then, he’s SLIT OUR THROATS with the macabre tales, The Demonic and Tormented! We’re pleased to announce that Lee has a new frightful tale that he’ll be joining us for, The Mark. It promises to cause many sleepless nights lying awake in bed wondering what those strange sounds are and why they sound like they might be in the same room with you!

We also have Glenn Rolfe, who has broken out of his padded prison cell, shed his straight jacket and will be holding us prisoner….err….joining us in our 2nd Group Read. Glenn is a repeat offender here on HA who swears the voices in his head aren’t dangerous. We’ve found that it’s best to say a couple Hail Mary’s and go along with what he says….err….I mean, read his latest offering, The Window!

Both tales look like they should come with the warning “To be read only with the doors and windows locked.” So, pour yourself a stiff drink to calm your nerves, ignore those strange sounds coming from outside and join us as we grab October by the throat and don’t let go until the body has stopped twitching!

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/…

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/…

Eerily Yours!

Ken
Co-Moderator
Horror Aficionados