The Siren And The Specter: Jonathan Janz
Reviewed By Steve Stred
It’s March, 2021 and I’m shamefully just writing a review for Jonathan Janz’s fantastic ‘The Siren and The Specter’ which I pre-ordered way back in August of 2018. I even remember being so excited when it loaded on my Kindle…
So, what took me so long? he asks, turning in a circle and waving at all of my digital TBR books stacked up on my e-reader.
That’s the sad truth and reality for many people, but I still want to apologize to Janz, for just how long this took for me to get to it.
So many people told me to get on this, to read it, to discover some of the creepiest moments you’ll ever read – and you know what? They were right.
What I liked: ‘The Siren and The Specter’ doesn’t rewrite the wheel with the basic plot synopsis. Noted sceptic and author David Caine gets invited to the Alexander House, where his old high school friend, Chris and his new wife, live. They want David to write a book about the house to help create a booming haunted house tourist destination.
It’s from that premise that Janz crafts a truly engrossing read. We get to see how Caine moves into the house, meets the various neighbors, some nice, some naughty, and starts to experience things that don’t completely add up.
I’ve loved a number of Janz’s releases and when he brings the characters into the Long Bedroom on the second floor and you see a writer (Janz to be clear) slip into his wheelhouse and churn out some of the scariest and most unnerving moments you’ll ever read, it was perfect. Just stunning.
The book itself moved along at a really brisk pace. This would typically be a book I’d read in a day or two, but with so many other books on the go, I kept diving in and out, but every time I left this world, I wanted to go back, which is always a great thing to discover.
What I didn’t like: Truthfully, I hated the neighboring family. I know it was purposefully done like that, but their story arc seemed to detract from the house story arc (for me at least) and every time they became involved I was annoyed. There’s a reason for it, which plays out over David’s character narrative, but frankly, I kind of wish they’d just not even been a part of the book.
Why you should buy this: I’ve read a number of Jonathan’s books and he always creates such stunning worlds and characters. Much like ‘Children of the Dark,’ ‘The Siren and The Specter’ grabs you and holds you and doesn’t let go. This one had some moments of sheer terror and horror in it that are pretty close to being unparalleled for me. I had a blast with this one and the mystery narrative that Janz added within the plot was great.
Overall, I’m so glad I finally managed to get to this one and if you have it sitting on your shelf, whether physical or digital, I’d suggest you get to it sooner than later.
The Siren And The Specter
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.
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
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