Book Reviews

{Review} PHANTOM EFFECT, Michael Aronovitz

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{Review} PHANTOM EFFECT, Michael AronovitzPhantom Effect by Michael Aronovitz
Published by Start Publishing LLC on 2016-02-02
Genres: Crime/Serial Killer, Dark Fiction, Fiction, General, Ghost, Horror, Occult & Supernatural, Science Fiction, Supernatural, Thriller
Pages: 292
Format: ARC
Buy on Amazon

Jonathan Martin Delaware Deseronto is a six-foot-five serial killer with a problem. He’s stuck out on I-476 in a heavy November rainstorm with two flat tires and the dead bodies of a cop and a co-ed named Marissa Madison in his trunk. Desperate to get off the highway, he drives his car on its back rims towards Exit 6. The car stalls on the ramp and Deseronto uses the last of its momentum to plunge over the crest of a steep slope and crash into a length of concrete pipe below. The car comes to rest on the edge of a construction site where machines are positioned to tear down an old Motel 6.For Deseronto, the worst is yet to come. Marissa Madison had been a psychic of sorts while alive, using her ability to assist people in their personal journeys. Now, the ghost of Marissa will utilize her strange gift, trapping Deseronto in the abandoned motel, and forcing him to live the last, fatal week of her own life as a passive passenger in her body . . . Soon, Deseronto will experience something truly horrific: the mind-numbing terror of being stalked by himself.

PHANTOM EFFECT, by author Michael Aronovitz is a supernatural thriller with a distinct twist.  Serial killer Jonathan Martin Delaware Deseronto is about to learn how it feels to be the prey, as opposed to the predator.  His latest victim, Marissa Madison, had a mental power of sorts that allowed her to see what she called “patchwork” of a person’s mind–bits and pieces of their emotions and lives.  In life, she  aided some by helping them fill in the blanks, to lead them to a more fulfilling existence, using this gift.

In death, she uses this power to tap into her murder’s own mind, and reverse things–forcing him to see and feel her final days through her body, as he was plotting her death.

The beginning grabbed my attention immediately, throwing me into the action at the very first page.  It doesn’t take long for the real horror to unfold.

While in “narrator mode”, Aronovitz is able to use some of the evocative prose I found so entrancing in his previous novel, ALICE WALKS.  However, the vast majority of this tale is told in the voices of the main characters, Deseronto and Marissa, themselves.

Deseronto’s tale had me feeling a wide range of emotions:  fear, sadness, anger, confusion, and apathy.  Despite–or rather, because of–his severe flaws, his was by far the most interesting and spellbinding part, in my opinion.  Sadly, while a part of me did pity Marissa, her tale wasn’t exactly what I expected.   I felt that much of it made her seem very “superficial” as a person, and during the reading I found myself wondering why certain scenes and information was included, when it didn’t strike me as having relevance to the story at all.  Although Marissa was the victim, I can’t say that I ever really “liked” her, and found much of her ability and use or repression of it to be quite confusing at times.  Her part of the story slowed the momentum considerably, in my mind.

The ending did pickup in the action and suspense department, and I finally glimpsed the story as a whole, as opposed to its individual sections.  All of the parts were cleverly woven together to form an intricate web that encompassed the previous–seemingly unconnected–experiences.

Just like a “patchwork”, or a jigsaw puzzle, all of the pieces began to fall into place . . . .


I am an avid reader/reviewer and collector of books--primarily horror, supernatural, and supernatural-themed thrillers.

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