The Siren and the Spectre by Jonathan Janz


Published by Flame Tree Press

5 stars



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.

Pages: 288
Genre: Horror

Trigger warning: child neglect and sexual abuse (not glorified in any way, but used to increase the sense of horror. No graphic details of the child sexual abuse.)

Where has this book been all my life?!

This book had everything I want in a haunted house story – Janz has a wonderful writing style which makes each chapter feel like part of a gift that just keeps on giving. Seriously, I couldn’t get enough of this book, it had strong characters, hauntings, gore and a beautiful gothic feel to it.

I love character driven stories, it makes it easier for me to care what happens to the characters – this is especially important in horror because it makes it all the more horrible when supernatural entities start messing with/nibbling on them.

David Caine is a skeptic of the supernatural and an author of books that shit on ghosts and hauntings, so that’s exactly what he sets out to do when an old college friend asks him to investigate a house he and his wife have bought. Obviously, this is a horror novel so there’s something legit going on with the house…

David is a bit of a knob. He knows it. There are some extenuating circumstances behind why he is the way he is, and honestly, I feel like he has a bit of a bad rep given that he’s just a garden variety knob rather than an out-and-out bastard.
This story is partially about his redemption and about forgiving himself for his behaviour as a young man – but with really nasty ghosts and the neighbours from hell.

The author manages to keep up the tension throughout the entire book, with a grand finale to satisfy even the most demanding reader.

I love that the author kept the genre fresh by mixing up different elements that you wouldn’t expect to see together in one story, wrapped up in a wonderful gothic horror writing style.



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