Review: Stygian, by Santino Hassell

The Blurb:

Jeremy has been isolated and adrift since the death of his brother. Most people just see him as the skinny emo kid who wears eyeliner and plays drums. No one gets him. Nobody tries. He thought the indie rock band Stygian would become his anchor, but—lost in their own problems—they’re far from the family he sought.

Still, hoping to get close to Kennedy, the band’s enigmatic guitarist, he follows Stygian to northern Louisiana for a summer retreat. They had planned to spend six weeks focusing on new music but things go awry as soon as they arrive at the long-deserted Caroway mansion. Tempers flare, sexual tension boils over into frustration, and Jeremy turns away from the band to find a friend in his eerily beautiful landlord Hunter Caroway.

Kennedy suspects there’s something off about the creepy mansion and its mysterious owners, but Jeremy thinks he’s finally found somewhere he fits. It isn’t until Kennedy forces the Caroway’s secrets into the light that Jeremy realizes belonging sometimes comes with a price.

The Stats:

October 26, 2015
Dreamspinner Press
Contemporary, M/M, GLBT+
217 e-book pages
3rd person
Series Edited (10/29/15): I just found out this will be a series! 
Dates I read this:
Edition I read:
October 26-27, 2015
Kindle Edition
See the book on GoodReads.

The Review:

5StarI don’t do horror stories. I rarely do paranormal stories.

I’m a big fucking scaredy cat and that’s the kind of shit that keeps me up at night. I’m a frequent insomniac anyway, I don’t need to pile on any more reasons to miss more zzzs.

So, what was I thinking? Really.

What was I thinking reading, this while house/dog sitting two nervous toy poodles in a big old creepy house that creaks and groans when a slight breeze from the ocean hits the house juuuuust right? The rhythmic sounds of waves crashing against the nearby beach aren’t soothing while reading scary books. They’re spectral howls through a haunted wood and the undead breaking free from musty graves. Each noise a footstep or a whisper of an uninvited guest or ghost—something out to get me.


What. Was. I. Thinking?!

Here’s the thing. I read this because of the author. This is only my second book of his and…he had me in the first words of the first book. Devoted fan, forevermore.

His writing is flawless, gorgeous prose. It’s thought provoking. At least for me, he reaches right in with these characters that I don’t—or shouldn’t—have anything in common with and flays me to the bone with commonalities. Things that hit old nerves I’d cauterized with 20 more years of life experience under my belt. It captivates, seeing reflections that shouldn’t be mine, or that I left behind ages ago.

That was part of the horror for me in this book—seeing that twenty-year-old angsty, restless likeness buried long in the past and forgotten.

Mad props to Santino for that…doing that in each of the two books I’ve read.

And the actual horror of this book? Yeah. I was ready to hide the Kindle in the freezer.

I need a book about fuzzy kitties and unicorns now.

This review also posted on GoodReads. Partial review posted on Amazon.

One thought on “Review: Stygian, by Santino Hassell

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