LYING SEASON, book four in the Experiment in Terror Series, centers around the ever-freaking-adorable Perry Palomino and her partner (and would-be love) Dex Foray. In this installment, Perry and Dex are investigating a reportedly haunted mental institution in Seattle. Scary, huh? Turns out, that scenario is not nearly as scary as the fact that Perry is spending the week with Dex in his apartment... oh, and his longterm girlfriend, Jenn, too. Let the fun begin.
Whoa. That pretty much sums up my feelings at this moment. When I finished LYING SEASON a few hours ago, I thought I should probably sit on my thoughts for a day or two and let everything settle. But I don't think waiting will change anything. So here goes...
LYING SEASON. What a perfect name for this book. Perry and Dex have never been wholly upfront to one another, about their complicated and turbulents pasts, certainly not about their feelings towards one another. But the level of dishonesty is ratcheted up to a new, disturbing level in this book. Like I said, Dex has never been totally honest about his history. In LYING SEASON, though, Dex's protective shell begins to chip away, and he begins to reveal pieces of himself to Perry. It's haunting, disturbing, and quite heartbreaking. I've never seen Dex this vulnerable. I don't think he'd ever been this open with anyone before, even Jenn. Only Perry does he trust. But then he reveals these secrets he's been keeping from Perry. Things that don't seem to be a huge deal to an outsider, but have a tremendous impact on her and show her how truly selfish he can be. He just... I don't know. I love Dex, I honestly do (cue the Olivia Newton-John music), but sometimes, I want to slap the literal crap out of him.
And Perry, sweet Perry. This girl, she keeps going, no matter what life (and Dex) put her through. She's starting to gain some much needed confidence now. And I love that. And she always acts with the best of intentions. But she turns a dark corner in LYING SEASON. What she does...it made me so disappointed in her. I still love her. I totally get why she does it, and know that she does have good intentions. But I wanted to climb into my book and shake the girl. You cannot mess with people's minds and bodies like that, Perry!
And Jenn. I gave you a fair chance. I was determined that there must be something worthy in you if Dex loves you. Screw that. For all the fans of the series who've wanted to know Jenn better. Here's your chance.
Even though the series is called Experiment in Terror, LYING SEASON is the first book in the series that made me nearly pee my pants from fright. The other books did have tense, scary moments, but nothing that compares to this scenario. What is more terrifying than a mental institution? A haunted one at that? Compound that with a ghoulish blast from Dex's past and you have a true Experiement in Terror.
LYING SEASON definitely left me with more questions than answers. The last few chapters had me reading with my eyes bugging out and my hand over my mouth so I wouldn't swear in front of my kids. The chemistry between Dex and Perry has never been hotter. The stakes have never been higher. The dialogue, internal and verbal, has never been sharper or as laugh-out-loud funny. I must give Halle some serious credit. She is a master at bringing the characters and story up to the very cusp of happiness, then pulling the rug right out from under them. She has never given Dex and Perry an easy road, or an easy out. And I suspect that will be the case until the very end. The ending to LYING SEASON...I'm still shattered. The fact that I'm still shell-shocked is a compliment to Halle's writing. I am excited, anxious, and terrified to read book five in the series ON DEMON WINGS.
" 'What are you saying?' I asked softly.
'I'm saying that you're like my best friend,' he said. 'You are my best friend, and I could never let pills take away what makes you, you. Your heart. And your beautiful soul.' " (pg. 213, ARC)