Review: Dead Sky Morning (Experiment in Terror #3) by Karina Halle

Review: Dead Sky Morning (Experiment in Terror #3) by Karina Halle

 Regina’s Rating: 5 stars/Grade A+

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Dead Sky Morning 

Book Summary:

With the Experiment in Terror show finding some success, amateur ghost hunters Perry Palomino and Dex Foray embark on their most terrifying investigation yet. A tiny, fog-shrouded island in the rough strait between British Columbia and Washington State has held a dark secret for decades: It was a former leper colony where over forty souls were left to rot, die and bury each other. Now a functioning campground, Perry and Dex spend an isolated weekend there to investigate potential hauntings but as the duo quickly find out, there is more to fear on D’Arcy Island than just ghosts. The island quickly pits partner against partner, spiraling the pair into madness that serves to destroy their sanity, their relationship and their very lives.

“Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.  Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.”

The perfect setting for a horror story? An isolated and empty island that is reputed to be haunted off the coast of Vancouver in the winter.

D'Arcy Island
By West Coast Paddler: Looking across the channel towards the north end of Little D’Arcy Island as the sun is setting.

“Are you getting cold feet? So you’re scared?” “Yeah! It’s called Island of Death for a reason and it obviously doesn’t want us here.”

dongilltopA haunted island?  Why? How? Well the island is a former leper colony, one that received forcibly moved Chinese immigrants with leprosy away from all society.  These men were isolated from medical treatment and had no access to resources but were simply left to die.  The island is open to camping and explorers now, but visitors report feelings of extreme saddness and depression when they visit.  So a haunted island. Mix into the story the main character being on this island alone with a work

Near campground on D'Arcy Island
From West Coast Paddler: Near campground on D’Arcy Island

colleague that she has  a complex relationship with and on top of all this – no cell phone!  This is the set-up for Dead Sky Morning.  Karina Halle tops the spook and horror factor of Darkhouse and Red Fox and takes it up ten notches.  The set-up for this story is so damned scary and perhaps the richness of the setting comes from the fact that this island – D’Arcy Island – and its horribly sad history is true.  For readers who want to read more about the very ugly and cruel history the Greater Victoria Public Library has a brief article on D’Arcy Island.

The draw of Experiment in Terror is Dex and Perry.  Their relationship.  Their interactions.  Their humor.  Their tension and their flirting.  I finished Red Fox and had to keep going, I had to know what would happen with Dex and Perry.  The book and the series is not “just” a romance but the romance is the driving force of the story line.  Readers — me — need to know where Dex and Perry will land.

You know Perry, sometimes I get this uncanny impression that you are flirting with me.

What makes these characters so important to me as a reader is that they have real problems and real desires.  They eat food, they worry about their weight – – they find themselves in inappropriate situations and they don’t always make the best choices.  They drink, they feel shame and they worry about what certain people think of them.  Perry has to worry about her job and her parents.  All very real stuff.  I like to have a beer or several so to read about characters who do too is well, fun.  Dex crosses some lines in this book. I can see where these lines might make some readers uncomfortable or upset.  To me I thought what Perry thought – If anything, it made Dex seem more like a man.  Just a man.

“What’s real Dex? Tell me what’s real.”

Fighting off ghosts and not knowing if Perry is going crazy or not ….  walking to the outhouse alone at night — mysterious sightings in the woods  — horrific nightmares– Halle sets up a story line where I as a reader began to question what the characters were experiencing.  Every book in this series seems to build on what happened before in terms of character development and character history but also, Halle’s stories are becoming more intricate and detailed.  I loved Darkhouse and Red Fox, but Dead Sky Morning brings the series to an entire new level.  It is a new level of writing, a new level for the characters and a new level for scary.

If you like stories with strongly written but flawed characters, then read this series.  If you like stories that incorporate romance, sexual tension with paranormal story lines and both themes are strong driving factors in the book, then read this series.

 

Series Reading Order for Experiment in Terror:

1. Darkhouse (#1)
2. Red Fox (#2)
3. The Benson (#2.5)
4. Dead Sky Morning (#3)
5. Lying Season (#4)
6. On Demon Wings (#5)
7. Old Blood (#5.5)
8. Dex Files (#5.7)
9. Into the Hollow (#6)
10.Come Alive (#7) Release Date 6/23/13

 

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