book reviews by Althea

Jacaranda – Cherie Priest ****

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This is categorized as ‘Clockwork Century #6’ – so far, other than this, I’ve only read the first two, so was afraid that ‘skipping ahead’ might be an issue.

However, I needn’t have worried. This story is only tenuously connected to what I’ve read so far, and fully works as a stand-alone. It’s a classic-feeling haunted-hotel story, perfect for fans of The Shining or anything in what Stephen Kings calls the “Ghostly Room at the Inn” subgenre.

As this is a ‘Clockwork Century’ novel, the setting is an alternate 19th century. (But really, the ‘alternate’ part here isn’t significant.)

In response to rumors that an untoward number of guests have been dying at the Jacaranda Hotel, and for some reason this in being ignored by local authorities, two paranormal investigators check in to the hotel to try to set things right.

Padre Rios is a gangster-turned-priest, and he’s been summoned by an Irish nun with hidden strengths. But will their toughness be enough to combat the dark forces swirling beneath the Jacaranda and to save the remaining guests? Or will all be swept into a dark whirlpool of malevolence?

My only complaint is that I felt that some of the supporting characters could’ve been fleshed out a bit more… and we’re left with some mysteries (to be explained in other books?)

But overall, this is an excellent and entertaining horror tale.


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