Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror #1)

Rated 4.25/5 based on 16 reviews
When 22-year old Perry Palomino gets roped into a ghost hunting web series with a slightly unhinged producer called Dex Foray, the pair discover that the only thing scarier than dealing with the dead is dealing with each other. More
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About Karina Halle

From a rock music journalist to a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author for The Pact, Where Sea Meets Sky, The Artists Trilogy series, and over 20 other books, Karina Halle has seen a lot of the world. Luckily, all the years of dabbling in different careers and traversing the globe has given her the perfect background for her stories. Whether it's writing horror romance, romantic suspense or contemporary romance, Karina manages to combine very real people and relationships with very edgy circumstances. When she's not writing about flawed characters or chilling situations, you can find her on Salt Spring Island, BC, drinking wine in her 1920's farmhouse with her husband and their adopted pitbull.

Learn more about Karina Halle

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Darkhouse - The Book Trailer
The Book Trailer for Darkhouse - shot in a fun, whirlwind two days, on a $0 budget but it gets the point across. Mainly, that lighthouses are evil.

Also in Series: Experiment in Terror

Also by This Author

Reviews of Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror #1) by Karina Halle

Carol reviewed on Aug. 18, 2013

An up-to-date take on horror with an intriguing heroine.
(review of free book)
Lucia reviewed on Nov. 13, 2012

Darkhouse was my first book by Karina Halle and I was pleasantly surprised with her intriguing style of writing. She made me laugh, made me feel scared and created very different, original and interesting characters in this book. I like when authors are able to use the right amount of sarcasm in theirs stories, and Karina Halle definitely knows how to do that. I never watch horror movies but I love reading horror stories. It has been quite a long time since I read some horror so I am very grateful that EIT series were recommended to me.

Perry Palomino is "delightfully impulsive" 22-years old woman who grew on me right from the very beginning of this book. She works as a receptionist and even though she is not happy with her job, she knows it is better than having any. The thing I like the most about Perry is the fact that she is funny and remarkable kind of person, always choosing the more crazy and more interesting alternative when given a choice. I really like Perry and she made a perfect narrator for this book. Dex was also very interesting character. I could not figure him out, there was something mystical about him but I liked it. A lot. Most of the time, he was driving Perry (and me) crazy but I had to like him nonetheless. Both, Perry and Dex, are not ideal or perfect people, they have their flaws but it makes them very likeable characters. Moreover, it was very easy for me to feel connected to them on many levels.

I realize that this book is not for everyone. But if you like realistic characters set in paranormal setting with some horror aspects, go for it. And I am sure you will love it.
(review of free book)
Mary reviewed on Oct. 4, 2012

No I don't like reading bout ghost novels or as such as eit is about' but I came across this book by accident thinking it was a werewolf one which by the way I found out later isn't. I can say that I have never been so happy to have pick this book up by accident, I not only enjoyed it, tho I hated and stared away from paranormal ghost books, I absolutely loved it, and it stills in my head when i am forced to put it down. it was the wit of karina writing that keep me going, even after I found out its scary ghost runs. I loved the characters perry and dex, the connection is so real and down to earth. I find it hard to believe it was fiction. I just loved them flawed and so real characters she used, and found it so funny, which took the ease of scary parts. With each series your just wanting more. And here I sit waiting for part 6. (that is killing)It was the rawness of how close to reality in characters and connections I found within this book that got me hooked not the journey of chasing paranormals.

My favo part ********“Why do you care so much?!” I yelled at her. My voice cracked over the next bit, “You told me you didn’t love me!”
With a huge gust of strength, she wrestled out of my grasp and stumbled to the door. I reached for her but she turned to me in fury. She looked me right in the eye and I saw the truth. I saw it all. And it was all too late.
“You’re not the only who knows how to lie, Dex!”
And there it was.
The truth.
She loved me. She had lied. She loved me all this time.
She loved me, me.
And I ruined it.
She left into the icy night, her anchor bracelet ripped on the floor. She was gone out of my life, out of the show. I had everything I wanted in my hands, in my actual hands, and I destroyed it before it could even become anything. I crushed everything we already had. I drove the only relationship that meant anything to me into the ground and then buried it with six feet of dirt.
I collapsed to my knees, unable to come to terms with what I had done. At the precious thing I’d lost. It was more than missing a part of me. It was feeling like there was nothing left of me to exist in her absence.
When my knees didn’t feel low enough, I fell to my side and curled up on the floor.
When the floor still wasn’t low enough, I began to cry.
(review of free book)
June Swinford reviewed on Oct. 1, 2012
(no rating)
This book was reviewed by the bloggers at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Review:

http://sffreview.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/experiment-in-terror-series-by-karina-halle/
(review of free book)
Kim Bibbee reviewed on Sep. 12, 2012

This first book was hard for me to get into
(review of free book)
Terri Seminuk reviewed on July 26, 2012

In the first installment of Karina Halle's Experiment in Terror series Darkhouse, we meet Perry Palomino, who has a boring job as a receptionist at an advertising agency til she decides one fateful night to explore her uncle's haunted lighthouse. She meets Dex Foray and becomes an internet sensation, turning her life upside down. This book will grab you and drag you into the story of Perry and Dex and not let you go. This is definitely a must read for fans of paranormal romance!
(review of free book)
snowangel56 reviewed on July 26, 2012

If you like a paranormal, supernatural story with romance thrown in, you will love the Experiment in Terror series. Karina Halle has a knack for creating characters that are believable and endearing. Once you start reading Dark House, you will not be able to stop and will want to continue on through the series. The main characters, Perry Palomino and Dex Foray, will pull you in and not let go. I've read the series twice and am waiting (im)patiently for the next book. You must read it to believe it!
(review of free book)
Robert Zimmermann reviewed on June 26, 2012

I’ve been meaning to read this books for quite a while, and I’m glad I got around to it. In a world where paranormal books are thrown in your face like they are all the next big thing, and vampires, werewolves, and “new” (yet, all too similar) creatures are introduced, it’s hard to find something different to read.

For me Darkhouse, the first book in the promising Experiment in Terror series, was just that. It was something different. Halle takes on the paranormal genre from a different way then I’ve been reading in other books. She throws the reader, not into a fantasy world, but into the real world. I think that’s a great strength in this book. It makes the horror elements in this book that much more real and terrifying.

Another thing I loved about this book was the character Perry Palomino. To me she seemed like your average young woman, or young adult for that matter (male or female). (By young adult here I mean a real young adult, early 20s. Not the book industry’s young adult, which is really late teens if you ask me.) Like the average person her age, she’s fresh out of college and has no clue what she’s really going to do with herself. She has a job, but she’s not happy with it. She’s not the thinnest woman out there, but honestly I found that to be a great characteristic too. I got the feeling that she was much more attractive than the book made her out to be. This helped me sympathize with her even more. This, as well as, her not so uneventful teenage years, really made her character believable. Many of us haven’t had the perfect life or the perfect body. It’s easier to follow along with a character that has real life issues.

The other major character of this book is Dex…no, I’m not going to tell you how much of a hunk he is. Or how beautiful his eyes look when he’s starring deep into my very soul. I wasn’t really sure what to think about him for a while. He’s a very mysterious person and you don’t get much out of him until he wants to reveal it himself. He’s also a bit older than Perry, which at first seemed like it’d get in the way. It didn’t. I think Perry is more mature than her age and Dex, while also be mature, can relate to the younger Perry well enough. This makes the chemistry between them (romantic or otherwise) support the great story.

The only real “negative” for me with this story was my wants for action. The story did push on forward without too many slow sections. I was always interested in what would happen next, but the action was separated by longer sections to set up more of the plot. It’s probably not an issue for most readers. It’s just once I got to the first encounter with the lighthouse, I wanted MORE….right THEN!!! I got impatient

As a whole, finishing this books has made me want to continue along with Perry and Dex on their next adventures. I think the more that gets revealed in later books, the more questions will arise. I enjoy books like that. Not only that, but I really want to know what the hell’s up with the Creepy Clown Lady. The picture I have of her in my mind is just the creepiest thing ever.
(review of free book)
Andrea Thompson reviewed on Aug. 1, 2011

My Review
Have you ever heard the expression "book hangover"? Well, for me, a book hangover happens when you find a book that completely consumes you. It is all you can think about, and you walk around in a stupor for a few days. Guess what? That happened to me when I read Darkhouse.

Darkhouse, when you read the synopsis, seems like a typical thriller. But it is so much more. It is creepy, funny (believe it or not), very suspenseful and yes, thrilling. While much of the book is about Perry, her new partner Dex, and their haunted encounters at the lighthouse, Darkhouse is just as much about the perplexing relationship between the troubled duo.

Perry, from the get-go, is easy to love. She's doesn't have the perfect body or life. After struggling with low self-esteem and drug use throughout her teenage years, she has gotten her life in order, for the most part. She still struggles with her self-esteem and then there's the fact that she sees ghosts. Is Perry "off" mentally or is it that she's able to see what most can not?

Then there's Dex. Almost every book I read has a guy who is a complete hottie. Very tall, very muscled, defined abs, etc. That's all great, but Dex feels more like a real man to me. He's described as having a very "90's" look. He's on the thin side, not especially tall. A slight moustache, dark eyes, arched brows and a eyebrow ring. His voice is low and smooth or growling, depending on his mood. He has eyes that seem able to see inside a person. He is quick with a smirk. Perry says he "reminds me of Robert Downey, Jr. in his strung-out drug days". Believe me, it works for him. Besides the looks, there's Dex's odd personality. He's just, strange. His thought are often all over the place, confusing Perry. His words often lull her into a sense of trust and security, then he says something to totally screw the moment up. But, underneath the smirk and harsh words, there's a hint of a fragile man with a troubled past of his own.

Honestly, the driving force of the story is the relationship between Perry and Dex. The paranormal aspect of the story is gripping. Truly. But the collision of the two forces is what is electrifying. The relationship is antagonistic. Perry and Dex each seem determined to get under the other's skin. Say what will set the other on edge, or off the edge. They are cut from the same cloth. In many ways, each is a mirror of the other. I'm dying to see where the author, Karina Halle, takes their relationship in the future.

Speaking of Halle, the lady has knocked my socks off! She took Darkhouse, what could have been your typical scary book with snarky characters, and breathed life into it. This book has heart. Characters you want to see through to the very end. There are going to be a total of eight books in the Experiment in Terror series. I will most definitely read each and every one. I will be reviewing Book Two, Red Fox, later this week.

I love when a book has phrases that capture my attention. Darkhouse has many. Here are a few I want to share.

"Somehow, by dealing with the dead, I had never felt so alive." Chapter 11

" "How come you aren't afraid?'... 'Because I find life to be scarier to than death,' he replied matter-of - factly." -Chapter 12

"A handsome, beguiling man whose eyes read your very soul and whose smirk held you in contempt." -Chapter 16
(reviewed 26 days after purchase)
Lori (Romancing the Dark Side) reviewed on July 25, 2011

A ghost hunting adventure with original characters guaranteed to please!

Perry Palomino is a college graduate who is back home living with her parents, teenage sister and working at an advertising company as a receptionist. With a troubled past, Perry is trying to find herself in the world like any ordinary young woman; only Perry is far from ordinary. She has the ability to see spirits and ghosts, an ability she keeps to herself. On a weekend family trip to her uncle's, Perry encounters ghost hunter, Dex Foray, while she's exploring the rumored haunted lighthouse on the property. When things get a little too paranormal in the lighthouse, Dex realizes Perry is the real deal and jumps at the chance to have her cast in his new ghost hunting show, ensuing a chain of events that will bring Perry to the brink of losing herself in the dangerous and haunting supernatural world they discover.

I'm a huge ghost hunter, paranormal investigating fan, making this book my cup of tea. This is a fun, character driven story with enough spooky paranormal elements to keep you on the edge of your seat but not scare you to death! The author brings the characters to life with her descriptive and splendid writing style, allowing the reader to connect with them almost instantly.

Perry is a self-discovering, flawed protagonist you can't help but love. Sure she might get on your nerves a tad bit, at times, but just about every woman who has been 22 can identify with her in one way or another. I found it absolutely hilarious that she initially can't stand Dex but then lusts for him...all while questioning herself for finding the guy incredibly sexy when he treats her like a child for half of the book! Perry lacks some confidence when you first meet her but eventually begins to find her way on her own. She's smart and sticks to her own style which you have to admire her for in a world constantly concerned with fitting in.

Dex is definitely an enigma. He's good looking and charming one minute and the biggest jerk the next. You never know what his motives are and want to hate him, until he does or says something to totally redeem himself. I'm all for loving a bad boy but didn't really fall for Dex in this book, he has potential, but there are times you just want to slap him and give him a piece of your mind (which was for more than half of the book in my case)! As unappealing as he might seem after my assessment, Dex and Perry have some great moments and sexual tension that keeps you interested throughout the story.

Darkhouse is a fun tribute to all the entertaining ghost hunter and paranormal investigating shows out there. It focuses more on the characters than on the supernatural, but there are a few creepy moments for those who love a little scare. The supporting characters add a bit more flavor and humor to the story that blends in perfectly. I found the pace a little slow at the very beginning but that all changes after the first few chapters. Karina Halle does a fantastic job of keeping her story and characters believable while extremely entertaining. Fans of the paranormal and supernatural will find Darkhouse a promising start to a series that can only get better!
(reviewed 34 days after purchase)

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