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Personal Effects: Dark Art

Personal Effects: Dark Art

4.2 13
by J.C. Hutchins, Jordan Weisman

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ISBN-10: 0312383827

ISBN-13: 9780312383824

Pub. Date: 06/09/2009

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Want to try it yourself? Call the phone number shown on book's cover: 212-629-1951 and listen to the voicemail message for main character Zach Taylor.

Personal Effects follows the extensive notes of therapist Zach Taylor’s investigation into the life and madness of Martin Grace, an accused serial killer who claims to have


Want to try it yourself? Call the phone number shown on book's cover: 212-629-1951 and listen to the voicemail message for main character Zach Taylor.

Personal Effects follows the extensive notes of therapist Zach Taylor’s investigation into the life and madness of Martin Grace, an accused serial killer who claims to have foreseen, but not caused, his victims’ deaths. Zach’s investigations start with interviews and art sessions, but then take him far from the hospital grounds—and often very far from the reality that we know.

The items among Grace’s personal effects are the keys to understanding his haunted past, and finding the terrifying truth Grace hoped to keep buried:

• Call the phone numbers: you’ll get a character’s voicemail.

• Google the characters and institutions in the text: you’ll find real websites

• Examine the art and other printed artifacts included inside the cover: if you pay attention, you’ll find more information than the characters themselves discover Personal Effects, the ultimate in voyeuristic storytelling, represents a revolutionary step forward in changing the way people interact with novels.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.30(d)

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Personal Effects: Dark Art 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Slamo More than 1 year ago
You will not be able to put this book down. J.C. is a masterful story teller and his lastest work is no exception. Its a creep fest edge of your seat book like no other.
KHughes More than 1 year ago
Just this morning I finished a book that has paved new ground in literary history. The book is Personal Effects: Dark Arts by J.C. Hutchins and Jordan Weisman. I've been a fan of J.C.'s work for some time as he successfully podcast a wonderful action/adventure/thriller trilogy called 7th Son, which he completed in 2007. Personal Effects is the first "dead-tree edition" of one of J.C.'s works. Based on a concept by Jordan Weisman, it is an excellent novel. If supernatural thrillers are your thing, then this book is for you. What really sets this apart is the experience away from the page. Yep, there's an experience to be had here separate from the book. The book has a built-in envelope that contains several items, or personal effects. These include authentic looking plastic ID and credit cards, birth certificates, death certificates, photos, and more. (If you want to see the items, J.C. has several "unboxing" videos on his site.) Many of these items are directly referenced in the text, but they can also contain clues that you can use elsewhere. Elsewhere? Phone numbers are sprinkled throughout the book and personal effects, including the cell phone number for the main character right on the cover. These are real phone numbers, with recordings from the characters. During the course the book pin numbers are referenced, and you can use these to listen to voice mail messages that add more depth to the story between the covers. Likewise, there are websites for you to explore. Some come from the novel itself, others from the personal effects. For example I took an e-mail address from one of the included personal effects and went to the website for that domain, then used information from the novel to hack in and read hidden documents. I'm not usually much of a puzzle guy, but I enjoyed searching websites and voice mails for clues and information kept secret by characters and organizations from the book. In fact, even though I've finished the book I'm still planning on doing some more digging because I know I haven't found everything. There are a few of the included documents that still have a story to tell. Even though I've finished the novel, I don't want the experience to end. But when all is said and done, it's a book, right? Even on its own it is a great read. I tend to use the term "critical mass" to describe when a book reaches the point where I can't put it down until I finish it. Not every book achieves this level of interest, but Personal Effects did. In fact the only reason I didn't finish it before bed last night was because I was literally so tired I was unable to keep my eyes open. But the first thing I did this morning was to finish the book. If you want to check out J.C.'s writing without spending a dime, he is currently podcasting Personal Effects: Sword of Blood, a novella that takes place days before the events in the novel. Same characters, same settings, but a story totally unrelated to the main events in Dark Art. So as you can tell I heartily recommend Personal Effects: Dark Art, and I encourage you to buy a copy. You'll be helping out a new novelist, and get yourself a great read. In addition to everything I mentioned above, it is a beautiful package with interesting artwork throughout the book. With all the extras included, the $24.95 list price is quite a deal. And remember the name J.C. Hutchins. The 1st book in the 7th Son trilogy will be published in the fall
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the IDEA of the multi-media approach, but the ACTUAL story made little sense. It was difficult to understand with Zac what was going on for real and what was going on inside his head. It was so confusing, I still don't understand what happened and unfortunately don't care enough to go back and figure it out. And what was all that "giddy giddy" stuff about? In fairness, though, I am 50 and have passed this on to my 22-year-old son who is into the horror genre. I'm interested to see what his reaction is. Maybe it's a generational thing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RoseT-E More than 1 year ago
JC Hutchins is amazing! Can't wait for his next novel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Laura-J More than 1 year ago
I'm having a hard time believing that so many people thought that this was a good book. "Creepy"? ""Compelling"? Some readers have compared this to Robin Cook and Tom Clancy books - and I say, "A far cry from Tom Clancy or Robin Cook." This book didn't scare me in the least. The personal effects that came with the book didn't play as big a role in the story or mystery as I had hoped them to play (although I thought that this was a pretty cool aspect of the book). I thought that the plot was scattered, and the characters poorly developed (if Zach gushed about his inked woman one more time I might have been sick). The author's descriptions of the "Dark Man" were repetitive, annoying, just plain blah. I mention this in particular because so many people found this book "scary" and this is the only place in the book that I found potential for scariness. I dunno - I thought that it was a big waste of $24.95 - and it's not even good enough to read a second time.
Tangaroa More than 1 year ago
Great story and excellent "out-of-book" experience! This is much more than just a book. The author offers loads of additional content on his website (www.jchutchins.net) where he personally addresses and interacts with the readers. Personal Effects: Dark Art is one part story, one part interactive game, and one part community. Anyone who likes thriller, horror, or mystery novels will love Personal Effects: Dark Art. I am so glad I bought a copy and think that you will be too.
JJKid More than 1 year ago
Well, I suppose some people won't like what I write here, but then the other reviews here seem to be from hard-core J.C. Hutchins fans - someone I've never heard of before. I'll just begin by NOT giving a summary of the book; other reviewers as well as the professional editors have given enough of an intro to the book that I'm not going to waste my time with it. I was browsing at my Barnes and Noble and found this book on a table and HAD to check it out. I love horror and mystery novels and I was intrigued by the concept of the "personal effects" aspect of this book. I just love a puzzle and after reading the first three chapters of the book, I went on an all-out, in-depth analysis and investigation of the personal effects - checking out the websites, calling the phone numbers, and just carefully reading the documents that came with the book. Though I had hoped for more of a game/puzzle challenge here, I enjoyed being able to put the pieces of a mystery together by myself! I was pretty thrilled by this! Unfortunately, that's where the thrill ended. I continued to read the book - waiting for more clues, more depth and got zip! This truly seemd like a "sophomore" attempt at a novel (perhaps even a "freshman" attempt - yikes!); this is one of the most poorly written novels I've ever read. For those who read the mystery and horror genres, this will amount to being a novel that you want to throw out on your next yard sale for 25 cents. I found the plot to be poorly developed and the random inclusion of details that are not essential to the plot, distracting. I didn't find this book to be engaging, compelling or even "creepy" as some reviewers have claimed. It just fell flat for me. I was especially frustrated by parts of the book where the characters (Zach and his Tribe) came to conclusions about certain other people (ex: father and Sophronia) without enough evidence or details presented to the reader to make the conclusions even logical! I guess that maybe I will have to check out this author's podcast novels because I really don't understand how anyone can praise this book. Perhaps it would be a better read if I was familiar with the author's previous work, but as a cold read - nada. I'm giving it two stars for the personal effects aspect - loved that part. I just wish that the personal effects had been used in such a way as to enrich the reading experience. But the writing was so awful, that I feel it would have taken a truckload of personal effects to compensate for it. I'm really bummed that I spent $25 on this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Twowire More than 1 year ago
AMAZING! That's what I consider JC Hutchins. I followed JC though the tremendous adventure of his 7th son series, a magnificent trilogy. Now his new novel Personal Effects: Dark Art has completely blown me away. To start, I have been unknowingly following one of the characters from JC's new novel on twitter for some time now. Then after reading the book, I find out that pixelvixen707 (Rachael Webster) is not even a real person, but a character from his novel! I was completely oblivious to that fact, such genius! I have immensely enjoyed reading PE:DA. I found myself completely immersed in the life of Zach Taylor and his work at the "Brink". I've also had great fun on the Internet and on the cell phone following up on and chasing down answers to the clues held within the book and those contained in personal effects material that are included with the book. I can tell you this, once you've been pulled into the PE:DA world you'll be nervously looking over your shoulder, be startled and have your hair stand on end when hearing little eerie noises in the night, find yourself avoiding the shadows and sleeping with the lights on! If you still questions after all these recommendations, check out the Vlurbs (video blurbs) at JC's Website. JC together with Michael Bekemeyer, they have created some rather creepy previews that movie studios wish they could have come up with. I mean, if the book makes the father of Jason Vorhees not want to go to sleep at night, how could PE:DA be something you'd not want to read! Oh yes and thanks to JC, I AM AFRAID OF THE DARK!