Let it be known that this book is as intriguing as the cover! And coming from a #coverho, that's pretty good stuff.
Where should I start with The Supernatural Enhancements, by Edgar Cantero? In a book this twisted, you just have to jump in.
An unnamed young man named A. and his sidekick, the 17-year-old mute, Niamh, move to Point Bless, Virginia where A. has inherited his second-cousin-twice-removed's eery old mansion. Not long after their arrival strange happenings-- ghostly visitors, flickering lights, overwhelmingly realistic dreams, and cryptic messages--begin to consume their days...and nights.
This story is told in snippets: letters, notes, video and audio transcripts. I'm usually not one for this type of format since it can get a little gimmicky, but Cantero has done an admirable job of maintaining a distinctive "voice" for the characters and a nice mixed atmosphere of doom and shenanigans. While I've seen this one compared to Night Film, by Marisha Pessl, I get the feeling this book takes itself less seriously.
What we really have here is an adventure story. The characters don't have to go very far to find the adventure...it's inside their own crumbling mansion...but it's no less adventuresome. The tone of this novel is no doubt ominous, but it's lightened up by the often flippant, snarky characters. At times it has touches of the Victorian in a decidedly contemporary setting.
Bits of the novel are surprisingly thinky, as the characters find themselves going down the rabbit hole of cryptography and various puzzles. It sure kept me guessing with its complexity in those moments, and it added to the sense of twisted mystery.
It's all a really odd, but amusing mix, and I was rapt until the last page. And OHHHH, the last page. When I finished this book, I went to Twitter with an, "I need to talk about this!" Tweet on my fingertips.
This would be a great choice for the RIP event later in the year or a feisty way to cap off summer.
Pub. Date: August 2014
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for review consideration.