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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
“Have you heard the rumors—that Covington Terrace is haunted?” In Shockadelica by Jon O’Bergh, drag artist Kendall Akande and graphic designer Jenna Chen investigate the history of their apartment building after their neighbor's scary experience with strange noises and a ghostly voice coming from the walls. It will be excellent material for their biweekly horror podcast. Little do they know the hauntings will escalate, revealing disturbing details about the building's past and its former tenants. With the arrival of a new resident who calls himself the Bone Man, Kendall's recurring nightmare, and Jenna's struggle to cope with her grandmother's dementia, an evil force is biding its time before bringing hell to all the people in Covington Terrace.
Set in the charming and historic neighborhood of Cabbagetown, Toronto, the premise of Shockadelica evokes the discussion of logic versus intuition and skepticism versus spirituality; proving one or the other relies on Kendall and Jenna's investigation. Subtle clues and red herrings are part of the well-paced plot, and readers will have the opportunity to deduce the truth as the story progresses. The narrative is engaging, and the podcasts are nice interludes between chapters, adding an interesting ambiance to the storytelling. Getting to know their quirky neighbors is a fun process; Mrs. Gupta is a sensible widow who's baffled by all the paranormal disturbance, and architect Elliott Bernbaum seems to know more about Covington Terrace's history than anyone else. Morvena Delacroix, a former 60s model with sensitive hearing and a penchant for cocktails, is one of my favorites. Lilith is a witch who practices magic for altruistic purposes, and then there's Lucas, an enigma in himself. It's an interesting ensemble that brings the story to life. There's a great sense of community in Jon O’Bergh's Shockadelica, and the mystery element highlights the positive side of humanity versus a lurking malevolence. Creepy but fun, this is a great read.