The Siren and the Specter
by Jonathan Janz
Flame Tree Press
September 6, 2018
Review copy received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Description: 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.
Review: Jonathan Janz, whose fiction I have enjoyed for many years, presents his newest offering, his take on the haunted house tale. Things start off with David Caine, who stays at the Alexander House in Virginia. As a debunker of ghost myths and the supernatural in general, he’s not sure what to expect but let’s just say he’s in for a rude awakening on multiple levels. What I found most interesting as the story unfolded was the growing sense of unease that even though David seems like mostly a “good guy,” that there’s a lot more to him than it seems at first. He isn’t as innocent as he seems at first and still carries the weight of a very troubled past with him.
I definitely felt a strong sense throughout that this novel is one of those that made me question as a reader who is telling the truth and where at many times, it was unclear whom to believe, which only added to the overall suspense and tension that Janz did a great job sustaining throughout.
For those who can’t get enough of haunted house novels but want a novel that goes in more interesting directions than the usual fare, definitely check out The Siren and the Specter by Jonathan Janz.