I wouldn’t say that I have a lot of special skills in life, but one of the things I am really good at is procrastinating. Give me a deadline and I will find you ten reasons I cannot possibly do said thing by set time, including, but not limited to, things like rewatching seasons 1-4 of The X-Files and organizing my closet. Because priorities. But sometimes… Sometimes there is crossover. Sometimes you’re reading a book and discover that there is a character that is quite possibly more obsessed with Fox Mulder than you are (and you don’t want to put off writing the review). By you I mean me, but that is a given if you’ve read more than three posts on this blog.
And Fox Mulder + a book review = a beautiful thing. However, let’s face it. Books aren’t always about lovely writing and meaningful messages and life changing characters. Some books are just for fun. This is one of them.
So which of the following makes The Supernatural Enhancements worth reading (I’ll begin with a literary one)?
a) The title takes its name from an Edith Wharton ghost story.
b) One of the main character’s defining characteristics is that he is an X-Files fan.
c) The novel may cause you to reconsider your stance on techno music, if only so you could hear that rare EP with only four sodding tracks.
d) The idea of House of Leaves having a lighthearted, simpler cousin – in book form – is appealing.
e) There’s a dog named Help, so that help will always come when you call.
f) All of the above.
Naturally the answer is all of the above. I’ll let you in on a secret, the answer is always all of the above. The Supernatural Enhancements is a summer novel with an autumnal heart – it’s fun, quirky, and it never takes itself too seriously. And there are ghosts. And secret societies. And the mysterious disappearance of the butler. And it was Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick. You get the idea. What begins as a Gothic ghost story quickly turns into a twisted tale of adventure. European twenty-something A. inherits a manor from a distant cousin in Virginia. He jumps at the opportunity to move into the house, bringing the petite punk Niamh with him. It becomes clear, both through experience and neighborly visits, that Axton house is haunted – and this is just the first of many secrets the manor is hiding.
Told through a variety of mediums – letters, diaries, found footage, music reviews, ciphers, etc. – The Supernatural Enhancements is a clever, enthralling mystery for those who do not mind a little bit of fun in their fiction (please do consider it House of Leaves’ lighthearted, simpler cousin, I’d like to think I’ve come up with an apt description). While I don’t think this book will hold universal appeal, those who appreciate a good Gothic mystery mixed with a bit of the fantastic will enjoy it. Trust me, you’ll want to believe.
For fans of Fox Mulder and Shirley Jackson. A love of puzzles helps too. 4/5, a summer favorite.
Do you ever put off writing a review? Even for a book you love? Or are you just fond of procrastinating in general (as I am)?
Pair this one with spaghetti and meatballs via From the Kitchen. “The Gothic atmosphere demands a bleeding carpaccio; instead, we were having spaghetti and meatballs… Niamh was anacondaing a meatball as big as her head. Knox watched us eat like we were on the Discovery Channel.”
*I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.