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.
**** Huge thank you to Flame Tree Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review ****
****Trigger Warnings: (Pretty much everything, it’s a horror novel), Attempted Sexual Assault, Child Abuse, Pedophilia/Molestation, Death, Suicide, and Violence. (This is also all challenged on page)****
I cannot even begin to describe my love for this book, honestly one of the best books I’ve ever read and definitely one of the best horror books I’ve ever read. It’s extremely well written, well developed, and definitely scary as hell at some points! Prepare yourselves for a gushing review that will hopefully convince you that you need “The Siren and The Specter” in your lives!
If there’s one thing that’s always going to be good it’s a good old fashioned haunted house story! It certainly didn’t disappoint either. The writing was so atmospheric and so GOOD that I was drawn into the story immediately, I could not get enough! His writing is just fantastic, eerie, and down right addictive that I’m definitely going to be reading more of his work. Janz made even the most mundane moments of the book interesting and at times terrifying and suspenseful as well. Seriously, there was never a dull moment even when “spooky” things weren’t happening. I would definitely say it’s pretty fast paced and had plenty of twists to keep things going.
I’m going to tell you now I’m a HUGE horror fan, everything from books to movies, so I like to think I don’t scare that easily. I tell you this so you know when I say this book is scary, it’s SCARY! There is so much suspense and scenes that were truly terrifying throughout, I honestly had to put the book down at some points and then sleep with a light on! So if you’re looking for something terrifying, trust me, look no further.
The nice thing about this book that I just really appreciated was the fact that this wasn’t all horror and scares. There are other sub-plots going on that were actually just as interesting as our haunted house including the mystery of the peninsula the house is on, the mysterious island on the river, the bizarre neighbors, and a woman from David’s (our MC) past. There are just so many different interesting things that kept me 100% intrigued all the way up until the end. I truly enjoyed all of the added mysteries, I honestly would have read the book just for that and all the horror and scary bits were a plus! Everything was weaved together and connected perfectly!
I didn’t think the story was too convenient or predictable whatsoever either, everything flowed really well. I also loved that there was horror and action all the way up until the very last page too!
I feel blessed to have read a horror novel that had both an amazing plot and amazing characters. Everyone was so well written and so complex, it really did wow me.
David was a great protagonist, both likable and even unlikable at times. I loved reading about his opinions and skepticism on the happenings in the house, it did get to be frustrating though seeing a non-believer keep waltzing right in to danger like he did. However, if we had someone run away from the danger we wouldn’t have much of a story would we? Even though he had his flaws and share of wrong-doings (he is human after all) I still felt protective of him especially when people didn’t think the best of him.
There were also a slew of other great secondary characters: Ralph, the old and fairly wise neighbor, Jessica, the mysterious woman that may be up to something, Sheriff Harkless, the badass black female sheriff who is just…awesome, seriously awesome is the word, and Mike Jr. and Ivy, the poor, adorable, neglected children of the bizarre, sex fiend neighbors.
Everyone has page time and everyone is so well developed, I could not believe it. There are a few other characters but not that I can mention too much of, especially since I want to avoid spoilers! Overall though the characters I mentioned above were all of my favorites!
I feel like I should at least briefly mention the romance since there is a little bit in the book, however, it isn’t a big focus and certainly doesn’t overshadow the plot. I liked that the romance was slow burn and by the end of the book I was practically begging the author to let the two of them be together! They’re a great couple and I loved both characters individually as well, though I won’t say who because I don’t want to spoil it!
What I Loved:
- The writing and atmosphere
- Plenty of twists and turns
- Scary as hell scenes!
- Action all the way up until the end
- Fast pacing
- Interesting sub plots, more going on than just the horror
- Complex, well developed characters
- Slow burn romance
What I Didn’t Love:
- Nothing, absolutely nothing! Everything was great!
I highly, highly recommend checking out “The Siren and The Specter” especially for my fellow horror fans, if you love haunted house stories then this book is 100% for you! It’s also the perfect read just in time for Halloween as well if you’re looking for a well written, well rounded, book with plenty of scares!