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A Good Companion Novel Is Like A Good Sidecar

Find out all you ever wanted to know about the Creepy Clown Lady, plus get into the wicked, tortured mind of Dex Foray in Karina Halle's Experiment In Terror novellas Old Blood and The Dex Files.

A Good Companion Novel Is Like A Good Sidecar

BOOK REPORT for Old Blood and The Dex Files -- two short stories in the Experiment in Terror series by Karina Halle

Cover Story: Awesome/Awesome
BFF Charm:  Eventually/Yay!
Swoonworthy Scale: 3/9
Talky Talk: Dear Diary
Bonus Factors: BACKSTORY!!!!
Relationship Status: My One True Love

Cover Story: Awesome/Awesome

I dig both of these covers! While I don't normally go for a person on the cover of a book, the way Old Blood is designed makes me love it. Plus, the picture SO makes sense in the context!!!! And the silhouette of Dex? Perfect.

The Deal:

SPOILER alert for the first five books in the Experiment in Terror series ahead! You can see my reviews for them here, here, here, here, and here

Old Blood

Remember the voice on the audio recording from the asylum in Lying Season? Yeah, that was just the start. Turns out, Pippa has a WHOLE lot to say to Perry and Dex, and this, dear readers, is the story of her life.

The Dex Files

Vignettes told from the perspective of our very own Declan Foray, this book starts at the beginning for one of the most appealing/frustrating characters ever written, and takes us all the way through the end of the fifth book.

BFF Charm: Eventually/Yay

Oh Pippa, your story is a heartbreaking one -- from the awful things that happened to you that were outside of your control, to the questionable choices you yourself made. It's always hard to see the dreams of a person wither and fade away because life got in the way, but I appreciate your brutal honesty with us. So while I felt like you would have been a tough BFF to be around, your part in the greater whole is so important -- and you did't sugar coat who you are -- so for that, I'd give you my charm.

Dex, Dex, Dex. I've figured out who you remind me of: You, sir, are the classic Han Solo. Getting to know the inner workings of your mind was, erm, illuminating, to say the least. But you know what? It made me want to be your friend. Because while some of your dick moves with Perry have really frustrated me in the past, I knew there was probably a deep-seeded reason for your behavior. Reading your journal proved me right. In addition to all that, man have you grown over the course of 5 books! You should be proud of yourself -- but not too proud. You don't want to get cocky. But just between you and me, I think you might be worthy of Perry yet.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3/9

Old Blood

Since this is Pippa telling her own story FOR Perry and Dex, I didn't get too caught up in her love story. Plus, she keeps it PG rated, for the sake of her audience.

The Dex Files

Dex, however, earns an NC-17, because he is Dex, and you know what Dex rhymes with? Ahem. The thing that amazed me, though, was how the author managed to convey her leading man's dirty, dirty thoughts in a way that was still swoonworthy to me as a female reader. Giving us his point of view during the sexy times with Perry lends so much more gravity than I ever thought possible.

Talky Talk: Dear Diary

First of all, sincerest congratulations are due Karina Halle. She has been tirelessly building the reputation of self-pubbed authors, while also hoping to get published via the traditional route. And she announced earlier this month that she now has an agent, so Huzzah, Ms. Halle!

Since one of these is written as an oral history, and the other is written kind of like a journal entry, we get a very personal view into the lives of Pippa and Dex. In Old Blood, Halle never lets us forget that Pippa is telling this story FOR Perry and Dex, to help them understand themselves. It's more informative and really feels like you've stepped into the series as a whole for a moment to learn this very important information.  In The Dex Files, she writes an unflinching, flawless portrayal of a very specific man we all know and love/hate/want to punch in the face with our vaginas*.

*Not my quote. Some genius friend of the author came up with that.

Bonus Factor: BACKSTORY!!!

SO SO much backstory. So much so that it felt like Halle answered ALL the questions. Of course, that's silly, because she leaves little bread crumbs of new mysteries throughout, but she gives us answers to some of the majorly important ones, and opens her readers' eyes to what's really been going on behind the scenes.

Casting Call:

Halle has already cast her two leads, so might I suggest for Pippa:

Madeleine Stowe as Pippa

Relationship Status: My One True Love

Ha ha, who am I kidding? I'm physically incapable of having just one true book love. But when I'm with this book series -- hell, even when I think about this series -- I feel what I feel, and those feelings are real, yo.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy of The Dex Files from the author. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Old Blood and The Dex Files are available now.

Jenny Bird's photo About the Author: Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.