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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
The Haunt at Hogg Run is a horror novel written by J.P. Barnett. The whole idea of a family adventure at Kat’s family’s cabin was uncomfortable, to begin with. Kat Barker had been the golden-haired Head Cheerleader at Rose Valley High when Macy was a freshman -- and a nerd at that. While Macy was away at college, her dad had married Kat and adopted her daughter, Olivia, leaving Macy feeling awkward and constrained at the concept of a new family complete with a step-mother four years her senior and a seven-year-old step-sister. Still, for her dad’s sake, she had accepted the invitation -- how bad could it be? After her cryptid-hunting experiences with her boyfriend, Tanner Brooks, and his sister, Miriam, who was also her best friend, she figured she should be able to cope with an awkward family get-together. But there was the old man and the decaying cabin that almost seemed haunted, the heavy noises that followed her footsteps on the trail, and that scream.
While J.P. Barnett’s The Haunt at Hogg Run is the fourth book in his Lorestalker series, it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone novel. That said, each of the books in this series is outstanding, especially for those readers who enjoy cryptid stories. I was initially surprised to see that The Haunt at Hogg Run was focused solely upon Macy Donner rather than the cryptid-fighting trio she’s normally a part of, but soon found her solo adventure to be absorbing, fast-paced and filled with the cryptid clues that make Barnett’s work so irresistible. The plot is haunted-house spooky, and the chronicle of the events at Hogg Run that happened ten years prior keeps the reader engaged and involved in figuring out the puzzles and challenges as Macy encounters them. Macy’s character assumes fully-fledged cryptid-hunter status with this book; watching as she confronts her own insecurities, fears, and a host of monstrous critters works on so many levels. Barnett’s plot is twisty, unpredictable, and serpentine, and his characters are believable. His setting drips with ominous overtones and makes this haunted cabin story roll. The Haunt at Hogg Run is most highly recommended.