I read the first book in this series (The Showing) some time ago, and it was an excellent take on the traditional haunted house theme. Unfortunately for the lead character in that book it appears that the paranormal isn't quite done with him. For me, this wasn't quite as strong as the first book, but does deliver on a fine horror story.
Here we have a mysterious painting that exerts some level of control, or deep seated fascination with some of those that gaze upon it. This element of the story builds well, with some well structured development. It's carried by a small cast of characters, most of which are the police officers trying to find the two men who have vanished, apparently connected to the painting.
The police investigation didn't feel as solid as the supernatural side, although their task was a difficult one with no real evidence to work from. There is one big anomaly here, and that was my biggest problem with the book. There's a big element to the painting that isn't investigated, although it does get mentioned right at the end, so now I'm curious if that feeds into the next book, and if it's all connected by more than just the lead character.
It's a big enough flaw to knock it down from a great read, but don't let it put you off, as this is a tightly written tale. It's a quick read and apart from my gripe, it works. Well worth checking out for those who like a little darkness with their supernatural.
Does lightning ever strike twice? It would seem so for the unfortunate Mister Jones. After a harrowing encounter with the paranormal in The Showing, once again he again finds himself in mortal danger on the borders of that shadowed world.
An antique painting holds a strange fascination for him - and others. What does the girl in the portrait want from Mister Jones and from the others who become entranced by her beauty? And can she be stopped before she unleashes her ancient evil into our modern world in a lake of blood?
‘Portrait of a Girl’ is the second in the collection of Mister Jones paranormal mysteries.
An ARC reviewer says;
This is a great read. I literally devoured it in less than 24 hours. If you liked The Showing... it's better. Spooky. It reads a bit like Sheridan LeFanu or Guy de Maupassant. Awesome. Classic horror short story, except this isn't short. It's a full novel. Just wanted to clarify, it READS like a classic horror short story. Tight, spare and invoking tons of imagination.
Are you a fan of classic horror? Sheridan le Fanu, Guy de Maupassant, or Bram Stoker? If so, you'll certainly enjoy Portrait of a Girl. In this tale of supernatural evil run amok, the most innocent seeming of objects - a portrait of an attractive young woman, harbors a compelling presence. But is she a trapped lover, or an unspeakable threat? The only way to know is to look deep into her eyes... if you dare.
Told in a spare, bare-bones styles that doesn't bog the reader down in extraneous detail, but rather keeps a fast but balanced pace, Portrait of a Girl is a mad rush into danger that classic horror lovers should adore.
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