Horror has a new name: Introducing Courtney Alameda.
About the Author
Courtney Alameda, a veteran bookseller and librarian, now spends her days writing thriller and horror novels for young people. Her debut novel, Shutter, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award and hailed as a "standout in the genre" by School Library Journal. She holds a BA in English literature with an emphasis in creative writing. A Northern California native, she now resides in Utah with her husband, a legion of books, and a tiny five pound cat with a giant personality.
Pamela Lorence is a seasoned professional in the audio production business and a classically trained singer and performer. Her voice has been featured in video games, museum audio guides, commercials, children's toys, and dozens of audiobooks. This year she combined her love of reading with her love of audio production and launched Forever Young Audiobooks, a boutique audiobook publishing company focused on producing quality young adult titles. In her free time she's a volunteer narrator at the Learning Ally, a national nonprofit with a defined approach to help support students with learning disabilities. She also volunteers at the Bridge School, an innovative organization educating children with severe speech and physical impairments.
Read an Excerpt
By Courtney Alameda
MacmillanCopyright © 2015 Courtney Alameda
All rights reserved.
THURSDAY, 10:44 P.M.
Call it reaper's insomnia, but the dead wouldn't let me sleep at night. Every time the sun went down, I swore I sensed them stirring, starving.
Tonight was no different. As the boys and I pulled up to St. Mary's Hospital, the scene seized and held my nerves at knifepoint. The hospital's power? Out. Patients spilled into the streets—some barefoot, and blanket clad; others clutching IV stands for support. They gaped at our Humvee, shying back from the glare of our emergency lights. No doubt they'd recognized the decals on our vehicles—the famous H formed by interlocking crosses—and knew who we were. Or more specifically, what we meant:
The Helsing Corps only showed up when someone didn't stay dead.
People jabbed fingers in our direction, questioning the nurses and security guards. Best they couldn't see the staccato flash of ghostlight in the fourth-story windows, or for that matter, the spatters that light silhouetted on the glass. If these people saw the place the way I did, knew what I knew about ghostlight and death, they'd riot and run.
"Get out of the road," Ryder said, laying on the horn. The crowd startled, pressed so close we could hardly turn onto Stanyan Street. "The place is a bloody mess. If the brass figures out there's casualties in the building, Micheline, it's your arse and mine." Cadets weren't supposed to take on hunts with a body count without professional backup.
"We don't have time to wait for another crew to show," I said. The closest tetrachromat crew was tied up in Walnut Creek with a poltergeist. Estimated time of arrival, one hour. I took stock of the twitchy bodies and gaunt faces outside, then drew a deep breath. "We'll be fine."
"Being fine isn't the point."
"No, but I can't guarantee the entity will stay in the building until Cruz's people can get here." I reached into my camera bag and took out a quartz telephoto lens, my equivalent of a sniper rifle. "Three of Father Marlowe's exorcists are dead, Ry. Someone's got to take this thing out."
"Sounds like Marlowe's problem to me."
"If it's dead and mobile, it's our problem." I clicked my lens into place. As a descendant of Abraham Van Helsing, I'd inherited a legacy—more like a psychotic sense of noblesse oblige—which meant I had a responsibility to protect people from the undead. Dad would throw a fit when he learned our crew took on a killer without assistance, but screw it, I wasn't going to abandon Marlowe's people to a rampaging ghost.
When Ryder didn't respond, I smirked and said, "You hate that I'm right, don't you?"
"No, I hate that you're as stubborn as your old man." His Aussie accent flared, just as it always did when I'd gotten the better of him.
"If I weren't stubborn I wouldn't be a Helsing, now would I, mate?" I butchered his accent but grinned anyway—we'd been friends for years and I still couldn't fake it.
"Got that right." He jounced his shoulders and eased up on the steering wheel, hands unclenching. Good. I needed him loose. Even if he couldn't help me trap a ghost on film, he was a steadying presence, another beating heart beside mine. Ghosts had no rules of engagement when it came to a fight and they didn't play nice. Sometimes they'd climb into an available corpse and come after me with tooth and nail, rusty knives or bricks—pick your poison. As a somatic reaper, Ryder specialized in monsters with rot and bones. He and the other boys on our reaping crew made sure I didn't go home in a body bag.
No matter how good Ryder was with a gun, he was useless against a ghost. Ghosts weren't visible to the unaided eye; they were blurry spots seen in peripheral vision, vestigial shadows blending into the darkness. Normal human beings couldn't tell the difference between a trick of the light and an actual ghost—it took a pair of tetro eyes to do that. Eyes like mine.
A tetrachromat saw a ghost haloed in violet light, an ability granted by the presence of a fourth color receptor in the retina. That fourth cone allowed me to see the spiritual auras of the undead—called ghostlight—in an explosion of color and luminescence. In short, I saw dead people in Technicolor. To my eyes, zombies glimmered like red dying stars. Their smarter, stronger paranecrotic cousins emitted a pus-colored yellow or orange light, monsters like Glasgow girls or scythewalkers. Clever hypernecrotics like scissorclaws glowed in greens and icy blues. And while I'd never seen a vampire—they were mostly extinct—I'd heard cobalt ghostlight ran through their veins.
The light in the hospital's windows burned violet-white, brighter than any I'd seen before. Whatever haunted the fourth floor wouldn't go down by the bullet, but by the lens.
Two cops approached our vehicle, their uniforms torn, bloodstained. One wore a cap of gauze on his head, a bandage covering one eye. The other looked like he'd played chicken with a brick wall and lost, his cheek marbled with fresh bruises and abrasions. Marlowe mentioned casualties, but he hadn't told me so many civilians were hurt.
As Ryder rolled down his window, I craned my neck to gaze at the hospital's fourth story, waiting to see another ripple of ghostlight. The windows gleamed like obsidian, two shades darker than any floor above or below them. Dread pricked my shoulders and sewed itself under my skin. Could I risk the boys' lives in good conscience, knowing Marlowe's exorcists died in there?
"It's about time." The taller officer shined his Maglite into the Humvee's cab. The relief on his face turned jagged, his brows shooting high. "Wait, you're just kids. We're under attack in there"—he gestured at the hospital—"and Helsing sends us a bunch of academy brats?"
"We weren't dispatched from Helsing," I said. Helsing was the Bay's chief line of defense, but St. Mary's was a Catholic hospital, so Marlowe responded first tonight. His offices were up the street at St. Ignatius's Cathedral. "Father Marlowe called us in."
"Unofficial business, mate." Ryder flashed the Helsing cross tattooed on the back of his fist before jerking his thumb aft. "The brats in the back truck are with us, too."
The cop looked at Ryder's tat, then aimed his beam at the back of my hand. The black Helsing tattoo meant reaper, an insignia every Helsing Corps member wore, regardless of function or rank. My cross had a crimson outline, a bloodied gully between my reaper's ink and pale skin. Only two reapers in the corps wore that thin red line.
The officer's flashlight sliced into my eyes, sharp as a blade. "Hey, you're—"
"Watch it." I blocked the light with my hand, blinking the afterimage away. My pupils would take fifteen minutes to dilate again, though the worst effects would wear off in seconds.
The officer lowered his flashlight. "You kids can't go in there, especially you, Miss Helsing. We've got DOAs inside, people we can't even reach—"
"That's why we're going in." Well, not we. Me. Dead on arrival—DOA—confirmed Marlowe's report, and the officers' injuries made up my mind. I couldn't expose the boys to a monster they weren't equipped to reap. Ditching them would mean breaking another one of Dad's rules—no reaper hunts alone—but I'd never hold a rule higher than a human life. Not over my crew's lives, not over civilian lives.
The second officer shined his flashlight on the Humvee behind ours. "Thought you kids were supposed to have some kind of adult supervision?"
"The backup's busy. Clear the road," Ryder said.
Ryder didn't wait for the cop to finish. He rolled up his window, muttering several fierce (read that: unrepeatable) words under his breath. Growing up in Australia taught him a lot of skills, but swearing was an art form Down Under and Ryder was an overachiever. "Even the bloody cops know we're supposed to wait for backup." He revved the engine, startling the crowd into motion.
"You're welcome to wait for Montgomery's team." My words earned me a rock-solid, 100-proof Ryder McCoy glare, which flipped and pinned my stomach faster than a freestyle suplex. It wasn't fair to make him choose between me and Helsing's operational standards, because I knew in my head, bones, and heart he'd pick me over his precious rules. No contest. His eyes said as much, even if his words wouldn't.
I felt a little manipulative but not at all guilty.
The Humvee crawled up to the hospital's doors. The pulse from our emergency lights reddened the building's facade. I toyed with my camera's aperture rings, trying to loosen the snarl of nerves in my gut. Dad said this part never got easier, the conscious choice to face the dead. Tonight, I'd do it alone. I just needed an opening, one second to slip through Ryder's fingers and disappear into the crowd.
"Don't get out yet, I don't want to lose you." Ryder unbuckled his seat belt. Pressing the button on the comm unit hooked around his ear, he said, "Jude, Ollie? You ready?"
"Hold on, we've got a problem," Oliver said. Ryder's gaze flashed to the rearview mirror, his comm blinking blue. We kept our comms on anytime we left Angel Island—another one of Dad's rules.
"What's that?" Ryder asked.
"The hospital's security cameras went down with the power outage," Oliver said. "We go in there, and we're going in blind."
"Good hell," Ryder muttered.
I glanced through the back window, spotting Jude Drake at the wheel, mid-yawn. For growing up so posh, the guy had no manners and even less chivalry, but his laissez-faire approach to everything from reaping to girls played in my favor tonight. We'd been eating lunch at a deli in North Beach when I'd gotten Marlowe's panicked call, and Jude said let's go before I hung up.
If I wanted to do something that wasn't quite legit, Jude was game. Break into Dad's office to clean up our personnel dossiers? Done. Switch out the orchestra's music at the Christmas ball and pay off the conductor so they'd play "Stairway to Heaven"? Of course. Help me escape the penthouse to shoot cans under the Golden Gate Bridge at dawn? Hells yeah.
Oliver Stoker rode shotgun, his fine, aristocratic features lit by the glow of his tablet computer. Born three months and ten days apart, Oliver and I would be together from cradle to coffin, just like our fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers had been. The Helsings and Stokers had more than a hundred years of history together, two of the great reaper families who allied in the year of 1893 against Dracula's threat. Van Helsing led the charge against the vampire, and Bram Stoker collected and edited the crew's letters, memorandums, and diary entries. Their camaraderie echoed through the generations and bound Oliver and me together the way our fathers were bound together—in bonds of unshakable friendship.
The Helsings remained the hunters, the Stokers the historians. Nowadays, my family's role extended to the executive leadership, the day-to-day administration, and training of the corps. The Stokers kept our reapers alive via research and development in weaponry, equipment, and medicine—a burden once shared by the Seward family, may they rest in peace.
Oliver and I designed my camera's technology together, after he'd taken apart an old Nikon and realized it had a tiny mirror inside. We nearly wound up dead the first time we tried to exorcise a ghost—the average glass lens worked as an insulator against their electrical energy. Every once in a while, I'd catch Oliver looking at one of my quartz lenses and chuckling, remembering.
"It's a hospital, Ollie," Ryder said. "They've got to have emergency generators."
Oliver placed a finger on his comm. "Their servers are down, so I can't access their network to check on the building's status. The breakers are likely blown."
If the entity consumed enough power to surge the breakers, no wonder Marlowe's men hadn't survived. Ghosts were charged, electrical beings that absorbed energy from the space around them. Weak ones were shivery spots and a prickle against the skin; strong ones were surging storms. It took an incredible amount of energy for a ghost to open a portal into the living world—or in some cases, luck. Once a ghost existed on this plane, it had to consume enough energy to maintain its presence here. With the breakers blown in a six-story building, the ghost upstairs could probably bench-press our Humvee by now. Or maybe rip it in half.
"Can we connect their security systems to the generators mounted on the Humvees?" Ryder asked.
Oliver's brows rose. After a moment, he came back on: "Logistically, no. I need to restore power to their servers on the sixth floor—"
Thank God for logistics. I wanted the boys blind to my movements.
"—But I'm running the GPS and radar diagnostic on the hospital now," Oliver continued. "The satellite scan is being blocked by an electrical disturbance inside the building."
So the boys wouldn't be able to track me via the security cameras or GPS. Perfect. I didn't need Oliver's technology and toys to track a ghost. My eyes worked better than any GPS unit.
A shadow shifted in one windowpane. A coal-colored figure disappeared from sight. I narrowed my eyes, wondering if I'd been mistaken. Nobody could have survived up there, unless ...
Unless the person standing in the window wasn't alive.
My heart kicked. Ryder was looking out his driver's side window, giving instructions to Oliver. Now.
I grabbed my camera's monopod off the backseat, kicked my door open, and leapt out as Ryder shouted at my back. I slid into the crowd.
THURSDAY, 10:58 P.M.
Ryder's voice burst through my comm: "Micheline!"
I sliced between a nurse and her patient, nearly tripping into the doctor behind them. People shouted at me. I spun left, not breaking my pace. The people packed so close it was like trying to run through a mosh pit.
"What's wrong?" Oliver asked.
"She jumped out of the damn truck," Ryder said. "Get back here, Micheline." His voice thundered through my body, and I knew he meant don't you go in without me. The short note of desperation in his tone hooked my heart and nearly pulled me back—it wasn't an emotion I'd ever heard from him. I ignored it, as the boys would need to search three empty floors before they found me on the fourth. They would be safe, or as safe as reapers could be.
"Just do us a favor—don't die," Jude said. "Our asses are on the line if something happens to you, Princess." He knew I hated the nickname on both pride and principle.
I settled into a jog and wove between people. "Ten bucks says I have the ghost exorcised before you can find me."
"Not funny," Ryder said. Well, humor was a superfluous talent in a family bred for killer instincts and courage.
"Make it fifty and you've got a deal," Jude said.
"Fifty it is." I glanced right, left, and realized I'd come to the hospital's eastern edge. Shrader Street and its blocky, vomit-colored Victorians stood dead ahead. To my right, patients and orderlies pushed out of the fire escape. Fighting my way past the evacuees, I pressed into the building, dodging people's shoulders and elbows. I hated being short. There were nights I wouldn't mind standing six foot three and broad shouldered, like Ryder. Tonight made the list.
The stairwell's windows shed enough light to see by. People moved aside as I headed up, warning me with quiet calls of "Miss?" I rounded the first landing without answering them. The Helsing emblem stitched on my left breast should've quieted their concerns.
"Track her comm position, Ollie," Ryder said. Watery voices echoed in the background, which meant Ryder hunted me in the crowd.
"I need a minute," Oliver said. "The GPS isn't cooperating."
"Get it cooperating."
Sorry, boys, you'll have to find me the old-fashioned way. I clicked my comm off, sidling past an orderly carrying a young patient downstairs. The girl couldn't have been much older than eight and wore a knit cap on her head. If I didn't want her to spend a night in the cold, I had to stop the entity. These people deserved their safety.
Focus. The boys would canvass the first couple floors in minutes—three if they broke the rules and split up, nine if they didn't, and Ryder wouldn't ignore code twice. With luck, the rescue workers and survivors wouldn't be certain which floor the entity haunted. So I ran, skidding around the third landing and leaping up the stairs two by two. Nine minutes. With luck.
Excerpted from Shutter by Courtney Alameda. Copyright © 2015 Courtney Alameda. Excerpted by permission of Macmillan.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Thursday, 10:44 P.M.,
Thursday, 10:58 P.M.,
Thursday, 11:25 P.M.,
Friday, 12:50 A.M.,
Friday, 3:42 A.M.,
Friday, 4:55 A.M.,
Friday, 12:31 P.M.,
Friday, 4:40 P.M.,
Friday, 6:38 P.M.,
Friday, 8:02 P.M.,
Friday, 9:35 P.M.,
Friday, 10:49 P.M.,
Saturday, 12:02 A.M.,
Saturday, 2:18 A.M.,
Saturday, 3:02 A.M.,
Saturday, 3:48 A.M.,
Saturday, 5:53 A.M.,
Saturday, 5:16 P.M.,
Saturday, 6:22 P.M.,
Saturday, 9:07 P.M.,
Sunday, 12:02 A.M.,
Sunday, 2:17 A.M.,
Sunday, 3:35 A.M.,
Sunday, 6:10 A.M.,
Sunday, 5:17 P.M.,
Sunday, 7:15 P.M.,
Sunday, 8:22 P.M.,
Sunday, 8:30 P.M.,
Obscura, -1:30 Hours,
Obscura, -0:43 Hours,
Obscura, -0:18 Hours,
Ten Days Later,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Wow. The premise is just really cool. The horrific images will never leave your brain. The writing is gorgeous! At first I was a bit done with the cool girl, the special girl with daddy issues, but as the story progressed... I fell in love with Micheline. And Ryder. However, Jude will forever be my favorite. And just when I thought the cool had reached its climax... BAM! More awesome. I loved it. Couldn't put it down. And a horror book that makes me cry? Fabulous.
SHUTTER is one of those stories I went into blind - really the freaky cover and the blurb grabbed my interest right away. I've never read anything by this author, nor had I heard anything (other than seeing the cover around) about the book. I rarely take risks with books I know nothing about, but this risk paid off for me. I am not sure what I expected going in, maybe "horror light" but that is certainly not what I got. Early on there is blood and gore - and not just for shock value. It actually moved the story along. That being said, if you are squeamish this is probably not the best book for you to pick up. Bad things happen, often. To good and bad people. The characters are not perfect, which makes them more relateable. There were some twists I certainly didn't see coming. Some things that happened that I thought for sure they would get out of at the last second. And I may or may not have had disturbing dreams for a couple of nights while reading and after finishing SHUTTER. But that is what a good horror does - it gets under your skin and lingers. I love being freaked out, especially by a book that is more than just words on a page. SHUTTER painted a picture in my imagination that was potentially more horrifying than anything the TV could show me. A 'picture' really is worth a thousand words.
So the story is on the Van Helsing bloodline. His grand-daughter and a set of teens that go ghost busting and vamp-hunting. I understand, so much is expected of these kids; they are not your normal, run of the mill teens. They were raised for training and meant for more than boyfriends, X-Box's and pizza, but they were automatons. Micheline was a terrible bore and not a cool representation of a female hero. Her boys, which are practically the same age as her, were supposedly top on her list, but she was selfish and she kept secrets that could have gotten them killed. And then there are others, outside of their clique, who are belittled because they don't fight. It was unreal. The attitude shifting, needless belittling, acting tough but calling the guys 'macho' and more was just too much for me. The mission was to go hunting for an entity that left the team with a countdown on life. Running about with glowing, spiritual lights within their guts, a soulchain, they have to find it and destroy it before the end of the seventh day. What's the deal with ghosts killing people in a week's time? Anyway, there was action and outside of the dull monologues and Micheline behaving like Rambo one minute and moody like Batman the next... it simply didn't hold me. I felt let down. The story was not horror to me, but more YA thriller. Also, Courtney Alameda, the author didn't write in a way that made the story easy for me to enjoy. It read almost like a study manuel, though I understand she was just trying to explain the techy side of their equipment and history. The wording was just stagnant and don't get me started on the conversations that felt forced. It was like watching a B-grade 80's movie. I coulda gagged myself with a spoon! *For the full review: http://www.areneehunt.com **Shutter Courtney Alameda Square Fish June 21, 2016
You have no idea how much i love this book the newest twist on romance and scary stories every where!!! I love a good scary story even if shutter gave me a few nightmares i couldnt put it down! Best book ever!!!!!!!!
Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat; in simple terms, this means that she can see the undead - ghosts, poltergeists, zombies - everything. As one of the last remaining direct descendants of Van Helsing, Micheline has been training her entire life to hunt and destroy monsters. Armed with her analog SLR camera, she is able to take down even the most heinous of spirits by capturing their energy on film. Along with her boys - Oliver, Jude, and Ryder - they are efficient at tracking down the undead and keeping the general population safe; but, their good luck won't last forever. When a routine hunt goes horribly wrong, the four hunters become the hunted as they are infected with a deadly curse called a soulchain. Micheline, Oliver, Jude, and Ryder have seven days to find the ghost that infected them and exorcise it; otherwise, they will all die. I have never been able to get into a book intended to scare the reader - until now. Courtney Alameda's writing was captivating, and the story she told was unlike any other. She went to great lengths to put intricate details into her story, but not so much that things were hard to keep track of. Up to this point, I have always found stories involving Van Helsing, Dracula, etc. like characters to be hokey; however, if more writers would weave their story and make it believable as Alameda did, I would be more likely to read them. Within the first few pages I had goose bumps crawling up my arms and I had to ensure that all the lights in my apartment were turned on before I could continue reading. When I first saw that there were three main male characters involved, I was instantly worried about a love triangle (or would that be a love square?). Thankfully, this was not a problem. Micheline and Ryder are adorable together, and they only have eyes for each other. The way that these two characters interact makes the reader hope and pray that there will be a happily ever after. Overall, I was very pleased with this book. The pacing was good, the characters themselves were enjoyable and their interactions with each other were natural and believable, and the conflicts were resolved in a manner that made sense and left me satisfied. My only problem with the book was that I had a hard time staying focused on it. The story was interesting, but for some reason it was difficult for me to stick with it for long periods of time. Despite my inability to focus on the book, I would still recommend this to anybody who is a fan of horror novels, loves YA, or is just looking for a fresh new story.
I'm simply amazed how an author can throw so many legends and paranormal myths all into one book and make it work. All of the descendants of the men who fought and documented about Dracula – The Helsings, Harker's, Stoker and Seward's are the main characters. Now that all of the vampires have been all but defeated Helsing runs a school to train the young descendants who to fight all the other evil in the world. Ghost and demons and necros and human scorpions – and how do they do this – with a special camera that traps the entities on the film. I know this book is labeled Young Adult but none of these characters seem young nor the gruesome situations they find themselves in trying to defeat evil. If you like paranormal with the addition of horror give this book a try.
I haven't read a ghost story in a very long time. I cannot remember if a fellow blogger reviewed this or if I just picked it up at Barnes and Noble because of the awesome, creeptastic cover. I have been on a search for a "super scary" book. I mean really " super scary", I just haven't found it yet. This one comes pretty darn close though. It was definitely creepy, and I did find myself shutting the book once in a while because I was a little freaked out. So on the scary spectrum this one was scary, just not "super" scary ;). I am still in love with vampires. I know most of the world is sick of hearing about them, but I don't think I ever will be. I think the thing that drew me in besides the awesome cover was the name Helsing. I knew it had to be along the lines of Van Helsing...well it's the same family ;). Micheline and her crew decide to go on a call about an entity causing an uproar and death in a local hospital. Micheline can see ghosts better than anyone on her team. She decides she and her crew should go in and contain the entity. She can capture ghosts with the light from her camera. She steals their energy and stores it in the film. I thought this was an interesting take on capturing ghosts. As, I read more I totally got how it would work. Except with this particular ghost. While trying to capture it Micheline and her team get "infected" by the ghost with a soulchain. It grows in their bodies and can kill them. They have between 4 and 7 days to find the entity and get rid of the soulchain before it kills them all. This book was exciting. I was on the edge of my seat most of the time, and like I mentioned above, there were a few times I had to shut the book and read a "happy" book for a while. Usually because I was reading at night in the dark with just my reading light. Ya, it was creepy. I don't know why ghosts are so scary to me, but they are. Maybe because of the "who knows" factor. Or "what if" it could really happen???! Micheline's father is the owner and operator of the Helsing Corp. He is not the kindest person on the planet. After loosing his wife he emotionally left the family. Micheline know's she is defying her fathers orders when she sneaks out to find the entity. She knows she can capture it and now her life hangs in the balance. There are some sweet twists and turns in this book, and I really enjoyed it. I wish I could be one of those readers that could predict what was going to happen, but I am not. Maybe my mind just automatically goes the opposite way...hehe. It's very easy to distract me from what is going to happen. I guess that's why the twists and turns were so great. I didn't see them coming. I was so excited to finally get a book that scared me a little. I know, sounds weird. I love reading sappy love stories, but sometimes I just need some more excitement in my life ;). Even if it's in the lines of a book. That makes it even sweeter. I wouldn't want that in "real" life...heheh If you like ghost stories, this is a great one. It's exciting, fast moving, and very well written :).
I didn't want to put this down. So different and thrilling!
In all honesty, I don’t like horror books or movies. I stay away from them like they were a virus. But based on the premise, I decided to give this book a shot. I was quite surprised with how much I loved this book. There are so many things that I really enjoyed about this book. Let me just say that this is one of the best debut books I’ve read this year. I will read any other books Alameda comes out with! We start off with a group of teens, Micheline, Ryder, Oliver, and Jude, answering the call to exorcize a ghost in a hospital. Things turn out bad and this is not like any other ghost exorcism they have ever done. Their lives are now in danger and if they do not figure it out, they will die in seven days. These four reminds me of Kathy Reichs “Virals” series with Tori, Ben, Hi, and Shelton, which I absolutely love. Their companionship and loyalty to one another I absolutely loved. Each character is so relatable and believable, that their characterization was spot on. The world building was so vivid that the reader can picture it in their mind without any detail lost or confusing. It was more complex and has a lot more depth which gives this story a thumbs-up from me. The writing is great. It flows throughout the whole book and the pacing was spaced out very well. What I loved most about the writing is that it showed rather than told. That is great writing and a great aspect to a dang good author. This book had me sucked in the whole five hours I read this. I was very invested in the story especially when I am also trying to figure out the “soulchain” mystery behind what happened to Micheline and her gang right along with them. There was plenty of suspense, action, gore, romance, and everything juicy there possibly is for a great book to go around. I also loved the science and spiritual aspects of this book too. I liked how Alameda wove these two together to help solve the mystery and it was bloody brilliant. Another thing that I really loved about this book is how Alameda gave tribute to Stoker’s Dracula and wove it in to become a believable, chilling, intriguing book. Overall, I love this book and it deserves more than 5 stars! I recommend this book to everyone. This book will give you chills, and heebie-jeebies, but it is well worth it. I will definitely read anything this author comes out with!
Maybe. You'll have to read it to find out. An exciting new take on ghost and vampire hunting.