"Shockadelica" Book Review
Written by Sean M. Sanford
Published by BookBaby
Written by Jon O'Bergh
2021, 256 pages, Fiction
Released on June 14th, 2021
Shockadelica tells a layered tale. One loaded with characters who could be found in a carnival funhouse, or right across the hall. Said ilk resides in Toronto, but more specifically the area known as Cabbagetown. Honed with a conjunction of mystery and horror, the book shows us that our deepest fears can sometimes be allies, and that even the most logical conclusions can easily piggyback an unexplained bump in the night.
Kendall and Jenna record a podcast, "Shockadelica", from Jenna’s apartment in Cabbagetown. Their podcast celebrates all varieties of horror, from movies and TV shows to myths and legends. Kendall lives in the same building, Covington Terrace, which is full of varied and colorful personalities, most of whom have had either direct or peripheral contact with some Unexplained events. So, Kendall and Jenna decide to dig in and do an episode about it, explore the missing people, the mysterious deaths, and other things that hold a whiff of malice in and around Covington Terrace.
They uncover much more than they expected, and not just in the ethereal realm. Going around their building to talk to their co-tenants about any potential ghoul-ish-ness, they learn some interesting layers behind those living amongst them.
Like Vince, the man who just moved into their building. He has tattoos of various serial killers adorning his body, and an overall ambiance of darkness. He’s also now living in the apartment that seems to be the vortex of most of their building’s otherworldly anecdotes, including a woman who was pushed to her death by a mysterious phantom from the apartment window. They are quick to learn more about Vince, like that he’s a musician with the stage name The Bone Man, and his songs are all about terror found in lore and cinema. Jenna and Kendall download his album and find that he has quite the morbid intrigue. They also find out that he has a direct relationship with his apartment in particular.
It comes to light that perhaps not all the demons in their building are of another world, and some of them might be closer than they expect…
This book made me flash on a haunted house I once lived in. Haunted by nameless, faceless entities that ruptured any semblance of peace in the night; especially whenever I slept in the living room. Both my sister and I had debilitating nightmares every single time, without exception, we camped out there. I’d even found a recess to squirm into, inside the cavity of our couch after it was unfolded into a bed. That didn’t work. Also, whenever I got sick in that house I’d have hallucinatory night terrors at all hours. Unfun.
But not all the hauntings were ghostly. Our landlords lived across the street. They’d just moved out of our house and I had suspected that they moved out because of its macabre vibes. Maybe that was what had made them into the scattered assemblage of ne’er-do-wells they’d become; the family was a storied troupe of anger and sadness. I could never tell where their darkness ended, nor where their ghosts began.
I thought of that house more than once while reading Shockadelica, and listening to The Bone Man’s album. You heard me right: Jon O’Bergh is not only an author, but a musician. He made available the same cache of songs sung by The Bone Man, the beloved and feared character that our podcasters delved into. The album has all the ambiance and specific tracks mentioned in the book, and is available on SoundCloud. I would listen along with Kendall and Jenna as they investigated this newcomer to their building and his list of songs like Frankenstein Monster, Box of Bones, and Night on Bald Mountain. It felt like a literary equivalent to those Virtual Reality goggles, and I loved it.
Shockadelica is full of mystery, comedy, third wall demolition, and of course HORROR. I enjoyed the ride, and highly recommend downloading The Bone Man’s album in concert with the book. You never know, maybe you’ll get a backstage pass. (I pray that you don’t.)
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