Title: The Siren and the Specter
Author: Jonathan Janz
Publisher: Flame Tree Press, 2018
Edition: ARC provided by Flame Tree Press & NetGalley
Rating: 4 / 5 ✨✨✨✨
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.
I didn’t know much going into this beyond that it involved a haunted house and a main character that intended to debunk any supernatural happenings. Through the story we learn more about the house, its inhabitants, and David, our skeptic.
So, the good: I loved reading this! From start to finish, the pacing is perfect for the story. I was hooked, and it got me through a boring red eye flight (and part of my layover). David’s narration was entertaining, the writing in the story was great, and I enjoyed getting to know the characters – especially Harkless and Mike Jr. I was completely captivated throughout a majority of this – until a bit at the end.
I felt the last quarter or so of the book, while entertaining, was a bit chaotic. Pieces were fit together that previously seemed to have no connection, and there was a lot of extra stuff that didn’t seem to quite fit into the main story. I can’t really explain this much without spoiling it, and I do recommend reading it!, but there’s some sort of historical thing that happened to a woman a long time ago, and while it was mentioned earlier in the story, by the time this comes into actual play again, I was confused about why it was even happening. It just seemed like a part of a separate story that somehow found its way into this one during editing. It’s not even that the separate story was uninteresting, because it wasn’t at all – I’d love a novella or something about the little island and the woman there, please! But it just felt a bit disconnected from what was going on with David.
I also found it really difficult to get on board with the main romantic situation, considering… other stuff I won’t spoil. Again, another thing that seemed a bit out of place here to me personally, but others likely won’t mind!
Overall, 4 stars from me! I would definitely recommend this to fans of the haunted house genre, with a brief warning that there is quite a lot of talk of sex and porn – and if you’re put off by that sort of thing, you may want to steer clear. I wasn’t aware that this was the case, so I had my font size turned up and I’m sure the people sitting beside me on the plane got an eyeful. 😂
A big thank you to Flame Tree Press, which is turning out to be an amazing source for new horror reads! Thanks as well to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Also big props to Mr. Janz – because of how much I enjoyed this, I grabbed a few of his other things on my Kindle and plan to read them this month!