Book Review: Blackstone By Jared Sandman

WELCOME TO BLACKSTONE

Designed by a madman, built with inmate labor and home to the nation’s worst criminals, Blackstone Penitentiary was considered the Alcatraz of the Midwest. Over a one-hundred-year history, it amassed the more odious distinction of being the most haunted location in America.

PAROLE WILL BE GRANTED

No longer in operation and left abandoned, it awaits renovation for inclusion to the National Register of Historic Places. Spearheading the ambitious restoration project is Anthony Creighton, a caretaker seeking to unlock the reformatory’s long-buried secrets. He enlists four strangers to help in that mission, individuals who possess extraordinary psychic abilities. Along with a skeptical scientist, the group embarks on the first full-scale paranormal investigation of the notorious prison. Their goal: to confirm the existence of life after death.

TO ANYONE WHO SURVIVES THE NIGHT

Six guests. Ten thousand ghosts. And all of them fighting to escape.

15823650I loved this 30 chapter book. I’m a huge scaredy cat, so this book was right up my alley with frightening myself. It dealt with ghosts. I loved the scenes where they went ghost hunting in the prison because it reminded me of Ghost Hunters on the SyFy channel. I could imagine the characters in the pitch dark with all of their equipment. And the story sort of reminded me of Agatha Christie’s Then There Were None when Jack, Janet, Sully, Bryon, and Bruce agreed to spend the weekend at Blackstone for a large sum of money. They each had received  a letter through the mail from Anthony Creighton. Throughout the story, I thought Anthony acted very suspicious and was up to something.

I loved the opening–how Blackstone was described like a medieval castle–that image made me get in gear towards castles being haunted. A.k.a. Expect the prison to be haunted too. I expected suspense and horror, and definitely got it. The author was great with dialogue; the conversations and body language was entertaining and it was pretty realistic for a setting like this. The questions, paranoia, arguments, accusations, shock value helped provide knowing when the characters’ minds started playing tricks on them.

I feared for everyone’s safety, and I enjoyed how the twists revealed themselves at the end. I also enjoyed the group dynamic. Everyone was pretty much strangers, except Sully and Janet (fraternity twins who hadn’t seen each other in a long time).

It was cool the way everyone was skeptical at first but finally started to realize ghosts were real (that the town rumor surrounding Blackstone wasn’t just a myth). The spirits were relentless in messing with the humans. All the characters had their moment to shine, each rotating point-of-view, so readers could care about them before their life was taken. You’ll have to read the book to find out if anyone made it out alive…

My favorite scenes: 1) Janet escaping her abusive husband 2) Janet encounters a ghost in the library 3) the reveal of the past history of the inmates (the ending) 4) the closing scene, especially the very last line

The story definitely kept me on my toes, and every so often, I’d look around me, looking for ghosts. My mind played tricks on me LOL. It was a fast read.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

For more information on the author or book:

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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