Camp Arcanum Review
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Now that summer vacation is over, it’s time to shift gears to fall: the perfect time for apple picking, hot cider, and a scary story or two. And if you’re looking for something other than the same old ghost story, you might want to try author Josef Matulich’s quirky supernatural thriller, Camp Arcanum.

The story begins just outside the small college town of Arcanum, Ohio, where a trio of men has been tasked with building a renaissance faire on a tight deadline. But while contractor Marc Sindri is determined to finish the job on time, he isn’t prepared for what he’ll find in this strange little town.

Before the team is even settled in, they get a visit from Brenwyn, head of the town’s coven. Though Marc’s head tells him not to get involved, he can’t seem to resist her—and his attraction to the alluring witch soon gets him and his crew into deep trouble.

Part romantic comedy, part supernatural thriller, Camp Arcanum isn’t the kind of novel that fits neatly into a genre. It’s sometimes lovable, sometimes silly, and sometimes graphic, with supernatural action that occasionally verges on madcap. And that’s exactly what makes it such an enjoyably uncommon read.

This tiny town is crammed with eccentric characters—from the tool-loving contractor and his bickering assistants to the interconnected townspeople. While most of them simply add color and comedy to the background, though, Marc is given more complexity and depth. On the outside, he may be strong and levelheaded—the stereotypical tough guy—but there’s much more to him. And as he explores the town, encountering all kinds of things that he can’t explain, he begins to fear that his family’s history of mental illness is finally catching up to him.

Meanwhile, the typical rom-com mishaps and misunderstandings turn into something much bigger and more terrifying when witches and demonologists are involved. After all, navigating a new relationship and facing your new girlfriend’s jealous ex can be daunting enough for normal, everyday people. But if that girlfriend has special powers that allow her to read cast spells and read minds—and her ex has the ability to conjure up deadly supernatural beasts—it creates a whole new level of relationship issues. And, here, those relationship issues are every bit as comical as they are chilling.

Camp Arcanum may explore a variety of different genres, but while it may sometimes catch you off guard, it never feels disjointed or unbalanced. So if you’re open to a little bit of romance and comedy mixed in with your supernatural thrills, you’ll want to pay a visit to this strange little Midwestern town.

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