An outstanding horror novel with a poignant Christian perspective. That is my personal definition of The Preternatural, the horror book I have read during my summer break in my secluded cottage in Noto Valley.

As usual, when I go away from my work for a couple of weeks, I always read horror novels, because they amuse me and keep me glued from the first to the last page. The Preternatural is one of my favorite books by now. It has also been an unforgettable reading that scared me at the right point.

I must confess that I got scared in some stages of the novel, above all in the central and final chapters, when the story unveiled its ominous truth.

A horror fiction book is a great proof of creativity for a novelist. The Preternatural goes beyond a simple literary proof. It is the masterpiece self-published by American author Daryl Hajek in 2015. The work has all the perfect ingredients of a perfect horror book: a family and a house haunted by evil spirits.

But that is not a common family, but a very special community of devout Christians. The parents, Nathan, and Josslyn, bought the house of their dreams in a picturesque hilly village in California, to spend their life there, along with their two teenage children. The entire members of the family are deaf and communicate through the language of signs.

That is the first unconventional hint of the book! The dialogues among them are marked by their signs and introduced with “He signed” instead of “He said”.

But this original detail does not diminish the literary value of the story, rather, makes it scarier and gripping. Strange phenomena occur in the house, objects which move alone in the night, wood crosses bleeding and upside down, the sensation to be touched by invisible presences and visions that appear like frequent nightmares.

It won’t take much time to realize that the house is haunted by evil spirits. The deaf family immediately figures out that they are haunted by demons who attempt even to kill them! They would like to escape and move to another place, but where? They are still paying the home mortgage. And so, they decide to look for an exorcist.

At this stage, the novel turns into a compelling horror story seasoned with exorcisms, prayers and a relentless battle between God and the devil. The emotional strain is very high, the writing style is sharp, precise, punchy. The dialogues pierce your heart like a blade. “I rebuke you, demon, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”.

I remembered many beautiful horror movies in these dialogues, The Exorcist, The Evil Dead, Poltergeist, but there is no resemblance with these movies of the past. The plot is as new as the conception and the meaning of the story. As said, the protagonists are fervent Christians, they keep their faith solid even when the two priests they hired run away in fear and they are forced to search for a paranormal agency…

I loved the Christian meaning of the book, also witnessed by the dialogues where the characters mention the quotes of the Bible. Through this literary technique, the author built a way to induce us to hope even amid darkness and the horrible vicissitudes of life. The deaf wife incites the deaf husband to trust God even when the man is about to be possessed by the demon.

The perspective of this horror novel is awesome, especially in these spooky days. There aren’t many good horror books around us, apart the novels by Lovecraft and Stephen King. It is as if the world didn’t feel the need to have this literary genre in the modern bookshelves.

The Preternatural can challenge the great horror novels of the past. Moreover, the author is writing the sequel, establishing himself as a new, great horror novelist. I look forward to reading him again. Meanwhile, I invite horror book lovers to buy and read The Preternatural and leave their opinion about this work, because talented writers must never be left alone!

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