The Supernatural Enhancements, by Edgar Cantero, (Doubleday), 368 pages
Edgar Cantero’s The Supernatural Enhancements is a delight of a novel—particularly if you enjoy a bit of paranormal activity alongside your quest to solve the mystery left behind by the unknown, distant relative. The reader is thrown into the novel’s action from the start, as it literally opens with a journal entry missing the first pages. You’re in the thick of things and have to get your bearings as you keep moving.
As a preface, the novel offers the statement that “The following collection of documents details the events that occurred at Axton House, 1 Axton Road, Point Bless, Virginia, during the months of November and December of 1995. The footnotes are the editor’s only contribution. The first page is missing.”
The documents include the aforementioned journal, a separate dream journal, letters, telegrams, ciphers, written communication between a pair of characters one of whom is mute, transcriptions of voice and visual recordings—including store security cameras, and a handful of ephemera. In this sense, The Supernatural Enhancements strikes me as a modern-day successor to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which also purports to be assembled from a variety of sources.
The Supernatural Enhancements is as much puzzle as novel, requiring readers to put the varying types of information alongside one another in order to follow the narrative. That’s what makes it such a delight. I can pretty much guarantee that no matter how seasoned a reader of this sort of mystery/historical thriller you are, you won’t see things coming. The narrative shifts under one’s feet like sand, changing the meaning of material that has gone before. Even at the finale, there are surprises yet in store.
At 368 pages, The Supernatural Enhancements is substantial enough to take you through a vacation weekend. Pick up a copy, and let it keep you company as you put your ordinary life aside.
I was provided a free electronic ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The views presented are my own.