Episode Thirteen by Craig DiLouie


Some of my favorite things are found footage stories and creepy old houses in isolated settings. Craig DiLouie brings these things together in Episode Thirteen. A husband and wife ghost-hunting team lead a TV show crew that investigates haunted houses. Matt is a believer looking for proof of the supernatural and wife Claire is a scientist and skeptic looking to debunk claims. Episode Thirteen of the show takes them to a potential gold mine. A haunted former paranormal research facility that's been abandoned since the 1970s. Bizarre experiments, a team of scientists who disappeared, and evidence of haunting in the subsequent years. Episode Thirteen of Fade to Black is told from recordings, journals, emails, and texts. They start with the excitement of everyone involved before things steadily go downhill.

Craig does an excellent job of setting the mood with his evocative description of the place which is both intriguing and unsettling. Along with Matt and Claire, the crew includes an actress/investigator, a tech manager, and a cameraman. The diversity of their backgrounds and their placement on the scale from believer to skeptic make a nice contrast as you see the events unfold from each of their perspectives. The layout of the house is eerie, particularly the basement where bizarre experiments were performed in the past. A sense of unease permeates every page. 

The structure of the story, with descriptive video transcripts of the events interspersed with journal entries capturing the feelings of the participants lends a sense of reality to what transpires. The journals also highlight the fractures within the group and their individual internal struggles. Curiosity wars with fear in each of the characters leading them deeper into the mystery pulling the reader in deeper with them. Events continue to escalate until the inevitable climax. The story meanders a little near the end, but the final few pages will send a shiver down your spine.

The writing style is very approachable reminding me of Devolution by Max Brooks. The dramatic tension reminded me of movies like the wonderful Session 9. This is a very entertaining book with great pacing and atmosphere. Fans of ghost stories and psychological suspense will enjoy!

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher.


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