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REVIEW: “Stygian” by Santino Hassell

ABOUT:

Jeremy has been isolated and adrift since the death of his brother. Most people just see him as the skinny emo kid who wears eyeliner and plays drums. No one gets him. Nobody tries. He thought the indie rock band Stygian would become his anchor, but—lost in their own problems—they’re far from the family he sought.

Still, hoping to get close to Kennedy, the band’s enigmatic guitarist, he follows Stygian to northern Louisiana for a summer retreat. They had planned to spend six weeks focusing on new music but things go awry as soon as they arrive at the long-deserted Caroway mansion. Tempers flare, sexual tension boils over into frustration, and Jeremy turns away from the band to find a friend in his eerily beautiful landlord Hunter Caroway.

Kennedy suspects there’s something off about the creepy mansion and its mysterious owners, but Jeremy thinks he’s finally found somewhere he fits. It isn’t until Kennedy forces the Caroway’s secrets into the light that Jeremy realizes belonging sometimes comes with a price.

BOOK INFO:
25843005Title: Stygian
Author: Santino Hassell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 204
Release Date: October 26, 2015
Purchase Links: DreamspinnerAmazon

REVIEW:

Stygian… Do you know what Stygian means? Stygian: of or relating to the river styx or to Hades. Dark or gloomy. Infernal; hellish.

Stygian, such a great name for band. It also fits with this story of four dudes making an attempt at coming together, creating music, maybe getting closer as friends. The books title sets the stage for the ride you’ll go on. The blurb tells you all you need to know, what the book is about. I’m going to tell you how I felt when I read it. How I still feel a month later.

While reading Stygian, I could not shake the creepy feelings. I could not help but feel there was something seriously wrong with the house they band stayed in. I could not, not even for a second, figure out what the heck was wrong with brother and sister Caroway. And let me tell you, there is totally something weird about them. I was never scared of anything, just freaked and so desperately wanted to know just what was going to happen next.

The band has a lot of issues, none of which helps matters. They’re terribly dysfunctional, non-communicative, jaded, and all around guarded. While the focus is on Jeremy and Kennedy, at no time are the other members of Stygian any less important. Quince and Watts share in making matters worse, and everyone plays their part in destroying the already tenuous friendship these men have. Secrets can tear an already fragile relationship apart. Add in creepy landlords, a mysterious and eerie house, strange townspeople, and weird reactions from he local police, and you have a recipe for disaster. I loved every minute of it.

In telling you I loved reading this, I can not express how much a large part of that love was because of the unknown. The feelings I had, a lot of stress and frustration at not being able to read fast enough, at not knowing what was going on until the end, none of those feelings were bad. I had this strange buzzing feeling the whole time. An energy that ran through me like it was coming directly out of the book and into my blood.

I asked Santino if he was going to write another book to continue this story. He’s never answered yes or no. It’s now been weeks since I read the book, and I still want to know more. When you read it, and if you like a great paranormal tale you must, you’ll want to know more, too. The descriptions were wonderful, putting me in that creepy house, in those creepy woods, the trees, the water, the heat. All of it palpable. Tangible. While this is a very different book in topic and feel, Santino writes it beautifully. His gift of storytelling is expanding, changing, and widening to a place I want to follow. I strongly recommend picking this one up. I don’t believe you’ll be disappointed. You’ll be left with answers, but in the end, a lot more questions. You’ll also be left with your skin crawling a bit, and maybe a bit mark or two.

About Kristie

I like to read, cook, play video games, and generally ignore most people. I hate talking on the phone, but for a small handful of people. I do my best to make my life as simple as possible. I also enjoy hanging out with my husband who makes me laugh every day.

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