Title: The Supernatural Enhancements
Author: Edgar Cantero
Publisher: Random House UK Ebury Publishing
Date of Publication: 14 August 2014
Number of Pages: 368
Rating: 4 stars
Disclaimer: Copy provided free by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Summary: What begins as a clever, gothic ghost story soon evolves into a wickedly twisted treasure hunt in The Supernatural Enhancements, Edgar Cantero’s wholly original, modern-day adventure.
When twenty something A., the unexpected European relative of the Wells family, and his companion, Niamh, a mute teenage girl with shockingly dyed hair, inherit the beautiful but eerie estate of Axton House, deep in the woods of Point Bless, Virginia, it comes as a surprise to everyone—including A. himself. After all, he never even knew he had a “second cousin, twice removed” in America, much less that the eccentric gentleman had recently committed suicide by jumping out of the third floor bedroom window—at the same age and in the same way as his father had before him . . .
Together, A. and Niamh quickly come to feel as if they have inherited much more than just a rambling home and a cushy lifestyle. Axton House is haunted, they know it, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the secrets they slowly but surely uncover. Why all the suicides? What became of the Axton House butler who fled shortly after his master died? What lurks in the garden maze and what does the basement vault keep? And what of the rumors in town about a mysterious gathering at Axton House on the night of the winter solstice? [Goodreads]
Review: What a trip this novel turned into! Initially, I found it difficult to engage with the characters and the form of storytelling used by Cantero. Part of this is baggage from The Hundred-Year House but part of it was the unexpected. The unexpected then continued for the entire book.
I enjoyed the way the story evolved via journal entries, dream journal entries, EVP recordings and video transcripts. Some reviews have criticised the way this story is told, referencing Dracula and The Moonstone, and to a point, I agree. Some of the bibliographic additions are heavy handed and at times are cumbersome to the flow of the overall narrative without adding much of relevance. There are also quite a few plot holes, which though not immediately apparent, become obvious once you drag yourself back into the real world and are reflecting on what has passed. I won’t give an example here because I detest people who post spoilers. If you’re desperate to see them, follow the Goodreads link above.
I don’t really feel I can say a substantial amount about this book without taking away from the reading. If, like me, you only read reviews after you’ve finished a book, you either agree with my points or you don’t. That my friends, is the beauty of our own unique ability to read. As for speculation on a sequel, I can’t see it working but I won’t be watching for a release date.