Title: Soul Searching
Author: AJ Rose
Publisher: The Grim Writer Press
Length: 268 Pages
At a Glance: Soul Searching is that perfect storm of suspense, horror and romance. Author AJ Rose has perfected her craft and deservedly become known as an author that many rely on to deliver excellent stories.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Something lurks within the walls of the house Trevor Mathews and his best friend Merrick Taylor share. It watches them and their friends. It needs them. It knows their weaknesses.
Trevor’s in love with Merrick and hasn’t got the nerve to tell him. Merrick’s relationship is already failing, but he doesn’t believe he deserves what he truly desires. And the dark presence enjoys their suffering.
The entity wants to exploit them, push Merrick’s boyfriend into fits of jealousy and possessiveness, encourage Trevor to avoid the man he’s stood by most of his life, and frustrate their friend Tempest who’s tired of knowing Trevor and Merrick are perfectly matched souls, but they’re too scared to try.
The entity needs them to fight, to hurt, to scream at each other in anger and pain. It thrives on their helplessness and targets their insecurities. And it won’t stop until it has devoured their joy, destroyed their hope, and eventually, shattered their souls.
Review: How miserable is your life when you are in love with your best friend but are afraid to tell him for fear you’ll ruin everything? Imagine watching him date nearly every loser that comes along, and feeling helpless to do anything about it. Compound that with neighbors who appear to be hell-bent on scaring the crap out of you by playing practical jokes and invading your home to make you think you have some sort of poltergeist. At least, you think it’s the gits who lived next door…until you board up the shared attic entry way, but things are still going bump in the night…
Welcome to Trevor and his very complicated life. AJ Rose offers up a spine-tingling paranormal horror/mystery in her latest novel, Soul Searching. Trevor and Merrick have been close since they were kids, and Trevor has always managed to keep a tight rein on his feelings, but the latest new boyfriend Merrick has brought home sets Trevor’s teeth on edge, and puts his heart through the wringer in ways like never before. Merrick is oblivious and yet…there are times when his own affections for Trevor seem to cross that friendship line and smack of something more. But poor Merrick has not had an easy life. Growing up with a father who taught him that he was essentially worthless before disappearing from Merrick’s life, he battles constantly with feelings of low self-worth and the desire to save the one he’s involved with even when it’s obvious they are worthless users.
Trevor and Merrick are trapped in so many ways. But it’s the house that takes the stage in this story and the terrifying reality that there is a malevolent entity that wants to hurt them. Scratch that. Kill them. With the help of their friend Tempest, they will plumb the depths of terror as they fight for their lives and hope to the powers-that-be that they don’t lose. It will take all the love they can muster to battle the hate, and that means coming clean for Trevor and admitting once and for all he wants more than friendship from Merrick.
My first suggestion to the intrepid reader who picks up this book is don’t read it at night, and, if you do, keep the lights on! This one is a thriller from the start, and the author cleverly crafts her story so that it ebbs and flows for a bit, lulling you into a false sense of security just as she does her characters. She gives you such insight into Trevor’s state of mind and his undeniable affection for Merrick. This is unrequited love with a capitol L, and its so frustrating to watch Merrick’s latest boyfriend walk all over him while Trevor dies a little bit inside, wishing he could tell Merrick exactly how he feels. I loved these two men in all stages of their relationship. While I felt Merrick’s reaction when Trevor’s real feelings are revealed to him by Trevor’s best friend, Tempest, were a bit too easy and quick, I could not fault the chemistry and ease which the two men had with each other.
The romance side to this story was definitely a second runner to the real focus–the haunting of their home. I must tell you that AJ Rose writes a darn good scary story, and she injects just enough suspense and horror in it to keep you up at night. Of course, I was way too sensible to start jumping at every wayward bump and sound that cropped up in my home as I read this novel. No sir, not me.
In my opinion, the book had just the right balance of horror story and romance to keep it moving at a perfect pace. The plot was convincing, the poltergeist/wraith was really terrifying, and the gentle ghost, Helen, just a perfect foil. I did find the character of Tempest to be a bit jarring and abrasive, at times, but I also recognized the need for such a person to act as a catalyst in both forcing Trevor to deal with his long-hidden attraction to Merrick, and convince both men to get help fighting the entity currently threatening them. She was also a force to be reckoned with when the gang went up against the evil in the house. In the end any one less assertive would not have been a convincing warrior.
Soul Searching is that perfect storm of suspense, horror and romance. Author AJ Rose has perfected her craft and deservedly become known as an author that many rely on to deliver excellent stories with fascinating characters and exciting plot lines. I highly recommend her latest novel to you.
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