A woman looks up at the top of a hill.

About the Book

Title: Red Fox (Experiment in Terror #2)
Published: 2011
Series: Experiment in Terror
Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Cover Story: Fine and Dandy
BFF Charm: Y To The Mother Cussing E-S!
Talky Talk: 2 Legit 2 Quit
Bonus Factors: Thrills, Supernatural Baddies, A Novella, Gingers
Relationship Status: Love Affair

Cover Story: Fine and Dandy

[Ed. note: Cover Story was based on the ARC cover.]

This cover is just creepy enough, and the subtle colors remind of the desert location.

The Deal:

WARNING: This is the second book in The Experiment in Terror Series. Spoilers for the first book ahead.

Perry’s lost her job. More accurately, she was fired from said job after asking to work part-time so she could keep filming the amateur ghost hunting internet show “Experiment in Terror” with Dex. And then there’s the whole thing where the first episode doesn’t quite live up to her expectations, so she’s afraid she got fired for nothing, which feels like the story of her life.

Nevertheless, Dex calls with a new location, and she’s off to the town of Red Fox, New Mexico, where a sheep farmer thinks he’s got some poltergeist about. Things get out of hand — like they do when you’re dealing with the supernatural — and our two ghost hunters have to face more than their fear of their own feelings for each other.

BFF Charm: Y To The Mother Cussing E-S!

BFF Charm Heck Yes - sparklier and shinier than the original BFF Charm

I’m serious. Not only do I want to swear best-friends fealty to Perry, but I actually feel like she IS my friend. Like she’s a real person. And I know her. Which kind of scares me, really, because when did I turn into one of those old ladies who talks about the characters on her ‘stories’ like they were people she knew and not just fictional? Example: at one point Perry decries her hate for the Kings of Leon, to which I wanted to argue that she HAD to like them, because when they first came on the scene in 2002, my husband and I remarked that they were like the Hanna-Barbera cartoon version of The Strokes southern cousins, which I knew would at the very least make her laugh, if not change her mind.

Um. Anywho, Perry is one of the most refreshing protagonists I’ve read in recent memory, and a lot of that is due to the fact that at 22, she’s on the A side of YA. Because as much as I love reading about firsts in YA, there’s something comforting about being able to commiserate with your friend (er, character) about where your life is going and the increasing size of your thighs.

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Okay, let’s just go ahead and get this out there: this book has sexual tension out the hooha. In fact it’s got so much sexual tension that it will pretty much keep you in a state of having literary blue balls for its entirety. But it’s SO. MUCH. FUN. Perry’s frustration about and desire for Dex is so palpable that you can’t help but fall in love with him along with her, even though the man has more demons than a hell house. Which brings me to the man himself. To borrow from Megan McCafferty, Dex has the classic poet-addict-manwhore mystique, which is my other fictional boyfriend Kryptonite. You’ll never be able to fix him — but if you’re the fixer type, then maybe we should chat privately — he’ll fix himself. When he’s ready. Oh, and the sexy times will be OFF. THE. HOOK.

So far Halle has upped the swoon with each installment — giving us a little more each time so we don’t grow tired of the “will they or won’t they”.

Talky Talk: 2 Legit 2 Quit

As I mentioned above, I love Perry’s voice. She struggles with self-confidence, but it feels realistic. There were times I wanted to smack her upside the head and tell her she’s not fat, but the truth is, I know the thoughts and comparisons we all make, and I didn’t have a Swedish supermodel for a mother.

Apart from pretending Perry is my BFF and lusting after Dex, Halle kept me guessing with the mystery in this installment, and delivered a thrilling page-turner from start to finish. I really liked the first book in the series, but it was this book that sealed the deal. I’m pretty sure regular readers of this blog know I’m a sucker for well-done serial thrillers, but “Experiment in Terror” is at the top of my list.

Bonus Factor: Thrills

Two people sitting in a movie theatre, watching through fingers covering their eyes

This book is a true thriller. I didn’t find it so scary that it kept me up at night, but it kept my pulse elevated as I raced toward the conclusion, trying to solve the whodunit before the big reveal.

Bonus Factor: Supernatural Baddies

Sam and Dean Winchester surrounded by paranormal creatures in a cemetery.

There are ghosts in this series, as well as other supernatural elements — Red Fox in particular deals with Navajo legends. Sometimes these things seek closure, sometimes revenge, and sometimes they’re just pure evil, but they are not cuddly, and I for one am so thankful for a return to the scary thing actually being scary. This element of “realism” not only makes the story more relatable, but also adds to the chills.

Bonus Factor: A Novella

Stack of YA book series

When you finish Red Fox, and you, like me, can’t can’t CAN’T say goodbye to Perry and Dex, you can read The Benson, Experiement in Terror 2.5, which takes us to a haunted hotel in Portland!

Bonus Factor: Gingers

Two female characters from Red Dawn holding guns and wearing camo winter gear.

As if Dex isn’t sexy enough, Halle introduces Maximus, a tall drink of ginger rockabilly in flannel shirts. And my pants.

Relationship Status: Love Affair

So to be honest, this book and I are in that stage where we don’t really leave the bedroom. I’m not one to kiss and tell, but I will let you know that it doesn’t disappoint.

FTC FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my review copy from the author. I received neither money nor cocktails for this review (damnit!). Red Fox is available now.

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.