Title: Phantom Rage
Author: William Blackwell
Review: The opening to Phantom Rage was great we meet Kathleen Freeborne who is a teacher of autistic children and seems to be very anxious and a little paranoid. Just by reading her perspective in this single chapter I had a feeling she was going to be a little unreliable as a narrator. I liked the fact we return to the same location as the Assaulted Souls trilogy; Prince Edward Island. We then jump backward in time by two days and the location also changes to King’s Playhouse Theatre. I love time and location skips in horror books as it adds to the atmosphere and suspense. We soon learn from the theatre’s caretaker Bill that the place is haunted although this doesn’t deter people from visiting and performing there. I instantly loved the paranormal aspect to this horror novel. I also liked Blackwell kept the multiple points of view that he had in the Assaulted Souls trilogy. We also learnt that Kathleen and her boyfriend Mark with friends set up PEIPI or Prince Edward Island Paranormal Investigators and they will be heading to King’s Playhouse Theatre that night.
As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel we see Kathleen decide to go on with the investigation despite her earlier panic attack. As the group set up their equipment Kathleen notices something is wrong with Bill but can’t say what it is, a few hours later nothing has happens until they come across a spirit who give them a warning to fear the chosen one although no one has any idea who the chosen one is or what this could mean. It is Kathleen who comes to the conclusion that Bill is the chosen one but for what remains a mystery. I loved seeing the different paranormal elements coming into play with the characters especially Kathleen. Kathleen seems to be the most affected by what happened at the theatre although she doesn’t really think on it as of yet.
As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel we see Kathleen and Mark slowly putting the pieces of the puzzle together and they are now stuck with the spirit of a murderer and have no idea of how to get rid of it. Seeing the dual personalities living within Bill was also a very interesting take in most paranormal books I have read you don’t see inside the person’s head you just see the changed exterior so this was a very unique take on the afterlife. I also really enjoyed the way in which Blackwell looks at mental disorders like anxiety and depression. As we move further into the novel we can feel the tension and suspense rising especially when the spirits begin influencing the real world.
As we approach the halfway mark in the novel a strange presence begins following the group causing dangerous and almost deadly things to happen around them and it seems to have a particular interest in the women of the group. As the novel get progressive darker and more violent we are shown the mindset of the various characters and how vulnerable they are to the spirits’ dark nature. The malevolent spirit then kicks things up a gear by breaking out of jail to wreck more havoc on the town. At this point in the novel I was hanging onto the edge of my seat just waiting to find out what was going to happen next.
As we cross into the second half of the novel we see the possessed Bill escape jail but he hasn’t reappeared yet although it seems that many other spirits are warning the group of what is to come. They believe in order to stop the spirit possessing Bill they have to contact the spirit of Elizabeth who warned them about the chosen one in the beginning. I liked the fact that all the characters are fighting a constant battle because the darker spirits can influence them both physically and mentally so they have to constantly be on guard and it begins to take it’s toll on the group. As everything begins to build towards the climax the group are set on contacting Elizabeth when they are ambushed by Bill and he seems intents on killing them, just at the right moment the police arrive and they begin to feel that their nightmare has come to an end but I had a feeling that it wasn’t over yet.
As we approach the ¾ mark in the novel I saw something I hadn’t realized before and that is most of the spirits we see have a goal of vengeance or justice for a past wrong and are going after the descendants or people resembling their target. When the spirits true motivations come to light in a very dramatic scene Kathleen finally finds a way to end it all but it would mean facing the first one last time in order to send it back where it belongs. The violence is brought to a head when the spirit in a new body kidnapped Angela and will exchange her for the sword which would send the spirits back to which the group quickly agrees but I have a feeling they will come up with a double cross of some kind before the end of the novel.
As we cross into the final section of the novel we see the exchange go down and while it doesn’t go to plan and a double cross does happen it isn’t in the way you expect and takes you completely by surprise. The ending of Phantom Rage was macabre, dark and suited the novel perfectly. I honestly can’t wait to get into the second book as soon as I can and highly recommend this book to all as I have done with almost all of Blackwell’s books that I have read. This book highly deserves its rating and would make the perfect Halloween read.
This book was sent to me for review consideration by the author
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Also see: The Strap by William Blackwell