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Navigating Early
Clare Vanderpool
The Ghosts of Chicago: The Windy City's Most Famous Haunts
Adam Selzer
By the Light of the Moon (Lakeside, #1)
Laila Blake
Darkhouse - Karina Halle As the first book in the series, Darkhouse is a little slow to get started. Although I have to admit, that’s actually something I usually expect from first books. Characters must be established as does their particular world. Facets of Perry’s troubled background are revealed in dribs and drabs throughout, something I enjoyed. We weren’t hit in the face with a huge block of exposition about her character and background. Just enough here and there to make us start to understand her more. Perry’s feeling very lost in her life – she has a job that she loathes and she just doesn’t know what she wants to be or where. She’s stumbling through life, trying to find herself. And sheesh, who DOESN’T relate to that? :D She’s not a petite drop-dead gorgeous kick ass heroine either – her references to her “thunder thighs” and her “fat ass” had me nodding and saying “I hear ya, sister!” :D Nice to come across a heroine who can take care of herself, but isn’t some leather-wearing rock chick with gorgeous “raven” hair and “violet” eyes who squeezes herself into tiny sex queen outfits. *grin* And I think that’s what I loved the most about Perry – she’s normal. Albeit normal with some pretty cool action skills that she picked up doing stuntwoman courses. Heh. She’s like you and me – well, ok, maybe more ME cos you the Reader could very well be some sort of Sex Goddess for all I know – living a normal life, doing a normal 9 to 5 job that she doesn’t like, wanting something “special” in her life, and not wearing high fashion or having every male who meets her start salivating over her.

On a family weekend visiting her uncle and cousins, Perry takes her video camera and decides to investigate the creepy lighthouse on her uncle’s property. During a terrifying episode, she stumbles – or rather, slams right into – a mysterious man. Even after finding out who he is, Perry still has no idea exactly who he is or what he was doing there. Until she posts the video and story about her experiences on her younger sister, Ada, fashion blog, in an effort to keep Ada’s blog going while she is down with the flu.

The response is quite overwhelming and becomes a bit of an Internet hit. And she receives a phone call from the mysterious man. He turns out to be Dex Foray, a producer for webisode shows.

To cut to the chase, Dex proposes he and Perry go back to the lighthouse for a full investigation that he will turn into a “ghostbusters” type show.

While the supernatural part of the book – the haunted lighthouse – is essentially what the tale is about, I found myself more drawn in by the characterisation and voices. I loved Perry. She’s so lost in her life, no idea what she wants to do, just fumbling around trying to keep going. She’s funny and smart – but she’s not TOO funny, she’s not a one-liner for every little (or big) thing going on around her. And while genuinely terrified of certain things happening to her (believe me, the Creepy Clown Lady would have me running and screaming down the street, far far away), she has a core of courage and bravery and keeps going on. Perry’s instantly attracted to Dex, but his behaviour and things he says, confuses her. She can’t decide if he’s a homicidal psychopathic maniac, or a great guy.

Dex is a strange strange character. Dude, this guy is weird! I honestly couldn’t work him out – one minute I was expecting him to do something totally evil or even mean to Perry, the next I was waiting for him to jump her bones. LOL. But then, as you get further into the book, you start to get hints that something has happened to Dex – something that points him to being so interested in this ghost stuff, and in Perry. He’s a character I want to like, but I can’t work out if I do. LOL. Perry’s crushing on him of course, but even she has her moments of WTF-am-i-insane-being-with-this-guy?

Perry’s background experiences are probably the most intriguing to me. As a child she had “imaginary” playmates, and she saw things. We don’t get a huge lot of detail, but it seems to be something that sent her off the rails as a teenager. There seemed to be a brief period of drug taking and most of the things that happened to her she has chalked down to that, or she just doesn’t remember them. I really hope that aspect of her life gets explored further in the next books.

I really did enjoy Darkhouse and I’m looking forward to the next one in the series Red Fox (and the rest after that!) I like Ms Halle’s style of writing (dude, she’s a rock journalist – i mean, how cool is that?? :) ) and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be wanting the rest in this series.