Word Spelunking

Darkhouse - Karina Halle Read the original and complete review at Word SpelunkingA fun and entertaining book, Darkhouse by Karina Halle offers less thrills than I was hoping for, but does provide readers with an intriguing and often chuckle inducing story. MY BRIEF SUMMARYTwenty-two year old Perry Palomino, a college grad still living at home and working as a receptionist (a job she hates), is haunted by nightmares and plagued with a bad case of “I Have No Idea Where My Life Is Headed”. On a weekend trip to her uncle’s beachside home she stumbles upon a mystery in a boarded up lighthouse and literally stumbles into Dex, a man with mysteries of his own. After their shared spooky experience in the haunted lighthouse, the two pair up once again to film a pilot episode of a ghost hunter like web show, with Dex as the cameraman and Perry as the host. Perry soon finds herself in the middle of her nightmares and must confront her less than ordinary past, all while trying desperately not to fall for Dex who is ten years her senior and has a beautiful babe of a girlfriend. STORYI’m a huge fan of all things spooky and supernatural, so I jumped at the chance to review Darkhouse, and although it’s more mysterious than truly scary, I found it to be an enjoyable read. The overall plot in this book- a haunted location investigated by novice ghost hunters, both of whom have their own connection to the supernatural- is, of course, nothing new, but Halle infuses this idea with her own sarcastic brand of humor and an addicting “will they, won’t they” flirtation.Overall, the story paces nicely, although there are a few places where it moves a bit too slow for its genre. The writing is solid; the dialogue is especially well written and sounds natural, although Halle does have a habit of using choppy sentences. The first person narration, with Perry as the narrator, works really well and places readers right in the middle of all the action, creating an exciting and absorbing sense of immediacy.I enjoyed the mysterious quality surrounding both Perry and Dex’s pasts and their connection with one another, but I found myself disappointed in the actual supernatural story and elements. Simply put, I went into this book hoping to be scared silly and be kept up at night with the lights on…but that just didn’t really happen. There are a few genuinely spooky parts, but overall the scary factor isn’t very high. There also just isn’t enough of the actual ghost hunting/filming stuff. The climatic ghost spelunking encounter in the lighthouse is exciting and spine-tingling; I just wish it was longer.One of the things I really like in this book is the humor. The humor is less silly and more sarcastic and acerbic, which fits the characters perfectly. One of the things I’m conflicted about is the heavy amount of pop cultural references throughout the book. On the one hand, these references, to things such as Facebook or specific musicians and movies, make the book feel current and relatable. Yet, on the other hand, these types of references will only be current for so long, and not all readers will “get” them. One of things that I definitely do not like is the overuse of a certain word and this is, of course, very much a personal issue. Now, I always try to remember that when a character uses an offensive word it’s because it’s a part of that character’s personality, but in this case several of the characters use the word “tard” or “retardedly” in a negative, insulting way, which, honestly, just bugged me…again, this is just a personal thing.The ending nicely sets up future books in the series, while giving this first installment a satisfying conclusion. CHARACTERSThe main character, Perry Palomino, is a compelling and relatable character. She’s witty, believable, and a little weird, but endearingly so. I think her reactions to the situations she’s put in are realistic, yet amusing. I do think, however, that Perry’s non-conformist, alternative, hipster-ish persona is a little in your face at times.Dex is a complicated character to like, simply because for every thing we learn about him, a new secret is added. He’s got the whole sexy, mysterious enigma thing going for him…but at times his creepy level is a little high.Ada, Perry’s fifteen year old sister is a lot of fun with her teenage dramatics and snark. All in all, Halle offers an eclectic assortment of well-developed characters. ROMANCEThe romance is more of a flirtation in this first book, and less of a full blown romance. But the flirtation is super fun and captivating. Halle creates a definite spark between Dex and Perry that feels both hot and dangerous, an awesomely enticing combination. I am super excited to see where this flirtation will go.MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Karina Halle’s Darkhouse is an entertaining read that may not blow your mind but will have you easily caught up in its mysteries and alluring flirtation. I look forward to continuing with the Experiment in Terror Series.

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