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The Unseen (a parapsychology mystery) [Kindle Edition]

Alexandra Sokoloff
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $3.99
 
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Book Description

From Thriller Award-winning author Alexandra Sokoloff: A terrifying novel of suspense inspired by the world-famous ESP experiments conducted by Dr. J.B. Rhine in the Duke University parapsychology department.

After experiencing a precognitive dream that shatters her engagement and changes her life forever, young California psychology professor Laurel MacDonald decides to get a fresh start by taking a job at Duke University in North Carolina. She soon becomes obsessed with the long-buried files form the world-famous Rhine parapsychology experiments, which attempted to prove if ESP really exists.

As she teams up with another charismatic professor, they uncover disturbing reports, including a mysterious case of a house supposedly haunted by a poltergeist, investigated by another research team in 1965. The two professors and two exceptionally gifted Duke students move into the grand, abandoned mansion to replicate the investigation, unaware that the entire original team ended up insane... or dead.

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Reviews:

"A creepy haunted house, reports of a 40-year-old poltergeist investigation, and a young researcher trying to rebuild her life take the "publish or perish" initiative for college professors to a terrifying new level in this spine-tingling story that has every indication of becoming a horror classic. Based on he famous Rhine ESP experiments at the Duke University parapsychology department that collapsed in the 1960s, this is a chillingly dark look into the unknown." -- Romantic Times Book Review, 4 1/2 stars

"Sokoloff keeps her story enticingly ambiguous, never clarifying until the climax whether the unfolding weirdness might be the result of the investigators' psychic sensitivities or the mischievous handiwork of a human villain."
-- Publisher's Weekly

"Alexandra Sokoloff takes the horror genre to new heights."
-- Charlotte Examiner

"Sokoloff shines, and deserves kudos for her crisp, direct style, excellent characterization, and for weaving the real life history of the Duke Rhine lab into her own fictional landscape."
-- Horrorworld

"Alexandra Sokoloff’s talent brings readers into the dark and encompassing world of the unknown so completely, that reader’s will find it difficult to go to bed until the last page has been turned. Her novels bring human frailty and the desperate desire to survive together in poignant stories of personal struggle and human triumph. But the truly fascinating element of Sokoloff’s writing is her deep dig into the human psyche and the horrors that lie just beneath the surface of our carefully constructed facades."
-- Fiction Examiner

"Sokoloff has provided a new and interesting twist to the genre, one that will stay with the reader long after the book has been read… the hair on the back of my neck may never lie down."
-- Bookreporter.com

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Author bio:

Alexandra Sokoloff is the Thriller Award-winning and Bram Stoker, Anthony, and Black Quill Award-nominated author of the supernatural thrillers THE HARROWING, THE PRICE, THE UNSEEN, BOOK OF SHADOWS, THE SHIFTERS, and THE SPACE BETWEEN, and the bestselling FBI thriller series HUNTRESS MOON. The New York Times Book Review called her a "daughter of Mary Shelley", and her books "Some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre."

As a screenwriter she has sold original horror and thriller scripts and adapted novels for numerous Hollywood studios. She has written two non-fiction workbooks: SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS and WRITING LOVE, based on her internationally acclaimed workshops and blog (ScreenwritingTricks.com).

Alex is a California native and a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, where she majored in theater and minored in everything Berkeley has a reputation for.

Learn more at http://alexandrasokoloff


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Sokoloff's serviceable supernatural thriller, two Duke University psychology professors, Laurel MacDonald and Brendan Cody, stumble on suppressed findings of an inquiry into poltergeist activity conducted under the auspices of Duke's Rhine parapsychology lab nearly half a century earlier. All the participants appear to have died, disappeared or, in the case of Laurel's enfeebled uncle, gone mad. Determined to advance their academic careers, the pair corral two students with strong paranormal potential to camp out at the spooky Folger House, site of the original experiment. No sooner do they begin their study than they're confronted with uncanny phenomena that suggest they've awakened a malignant presence that pervades the house. Sokoloff (The Price) keep her story enticingly ambiguous, never clarifying until the climax whether the unfolding weirdness might be the result of the investigators' psychic sensitivities or the mischievous handiwork of a human villain. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"A creepy haunted house, reports of a 40-year-old poltergeist investigation, and a young researcher trying to rebuild her life take the "publish or perish" initiative for college professors to a terrifying new level in this spine-tingling story that has every indication of becoming a horror classic. Based on the famous Rhine ESP experiments at the Duke University parapsychology department that collapsed in the 1960s, this is a chillingly dark look into the unknown."
-- Romantic Times Book Reviews

Product Details

  • File Size: 561 KB
  • Print Length: 401 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0749941685
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0085F9KBW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,113 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Sokoloff's finest novel... January 20, 2010
Format:Hardcover
I've been wavering between three or four stars with The Unseen. I've read Alexandra Sokoloff's previous work. I thought The Harrowing was great and I absolutely loved The Price. But something about The Unseen made it not as captivating as the other two.

I love haunted house stories. Always have. There's just so much build up in them and most of the time, it delivers. That was one of my problems with The Unseen. Firstly, it took a long while for anything remotely creepy to happen. Usually I don't mind it since it sets the mood up earlier. But this didn't happen. While it took about a hundred pages for anything to get going, I felt that while the author was building up the characters, the mood just wasn't being set up. There was no eerie sense of foreboding in the first hundred pages.

But when things start to get going, they really got going. The last hundred pages were very intense, though, it wasn't exactly creepy nor scary. Just a bit thrilling. Another aspect that bothered me was that there were more questions than answers when I finished reading the book. I know that sometimes horror novels have to keep that sense of mystery, but this one just had way too many threads that went unexplored.

The premise was very intriguing, though. And while I wasn't particularly scared, I was interested enough to keep reading the book. It just fell a little bit flat to me. I would recommend her other books, The Harrowing and The Price, slightly more than this one.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "They didn't get out. No one did." May 26, 2009
Format:Hardcover
This is dangerous territory for writers of the genre: paranormal psychological phenomena. Is ESP real and measurable? Can the wall between reality and the otherworldly be breached? Certainly, many have tried to transport from the living to the dead, most notable the Victorian penchant for séances and communications with the deceased, often fraudulent attempts to separate grieving family members from their money. Sokoloff knocks on that dark door again in this thriller, as two professors from Duke University try to recreate a 1965 experiment with such tragic consequences that all records have been sealed until recently. But now Professors Laurel MacDonald and Brendan Cody have undertaken to reassemble the critical participants of the original experiment, a mysterious study in ESP at Folger House, using two high-testing students as the other members of the quartet.

Professor MacDonald is new to the Duke faculty. She has come from California, a shattering emotional trauma leaving her vulnerable and rootless, transplanted to an unfamiliar place to begin anew. It is not surprising that Laurel joins forces with Brendan when the charming coworker helps her locate the mystery-shrouded Folger House where they will conduct the experiment. MacDonald and Cody live in a "publish or perish" environment, the subject of their study having broad appeal in a cynical world where such things as poltergeists remain a source of public curiosity. Folger House is intimidating, the four visitors an odd blend of skepticism and curiosity. Tyler Mountford is undoubtedly brilliant, but vaguely untrustworthy. Katrina de Vore clearly has a serious crush on Professor Cody, who slightly resembles the fiancé that Laurel left behind in California.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less Sexual Tension More Ghosts! January 9, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a fan of ghost and haunted house stories I often have a hard time finding ones without gore. Since stories with hauntings or supernatural elements usually fall under the heading of "horror" and the words horror and gore seem to be synonymous in the literary world it sometimes happens that I buy a book that sounds like a book about ghosts and those who deal with them only to find myself knee-deep in attempts to gross me out with endless descriptions of just how much abuse and destruction a human body can be put through. When this happens I chuck the book in a rage of disgust and go back to reread Julian's House for the umpteenth time.
Now, you may be wondering why I'm telling you this since it has nothing to do with Alexandra Sokoloff's The Unseen. Well, as the old Grape Nuts slogan of the 1920s put it..."There's a reason"
The reason is that when, after reading the reviews and learning that this was a pretty pure haunted house novel with little to no gore I snapped it up eagerly, so excited to possibly add another favorite to my list...somehow it just didn't work out quite as planned.
While this WAS a ghost story with no gore I couldn't help but have the distinct feeling that the author either felt that writing romance was her real love, or that she was badgered by her publishers to "Add more sex. People BUY sex" and yeah, sure, they do...but with the internet they have the option of buying steamy romances or outright bow-chika-wow-wow hardcore so they DON'T need to buy ghost stories that seem more focused on describing the sexual tension and attraction of the characters than in getting into the spooky mystery.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Alexandra Sokoloff's novels flirt, entrance and seduce. Yes, they have elements of suspense, horror and, of course, romance. But unlike many works of fiction that skirt the borders of the horror genre or embrace it wholeheartedly, Sokoloff gently (and, on occasion, not so gently) nudges her reader into that bright, airy room with the crisp sheets and the partner with eyes so full of promise. It isn't until the spiders stop dropping on your bare back that you realize maybe all is not as it seems, even though the webs here and there should have given you plenty of warning.

Sokoloff's work is much closer to Shirley Jackson's than to Craig Spector's; I was especially put in the mind of the former's work while reading THE UNSEEN, Sokoloff's latest novel. It is not that Sokoloff treads the territory that Jackson explored so well; rather, Sokoloff is both completing the work that Jackson left undone while expanding the boundaries that Jackson staked out. Thus, when you read this book, please remember my opening remarks.

The first third of THE UNSEEN entrances. We watch how Dr. Laurel MacDonald, a professor of psychology, catches her fiancée in a leg-lock with a graduate student and immediately moves herself and her emotional baggage to Durham, North Carolina, where she has accepted a teaching position at Duke University. Mindful of the publish-or-perish maxim, MacDonald is struggling for a book topic when she stumbles upon the records of the Rhine ESP experiments that were conducted at Duke. MacDonald feels a strange draw to the research that was done, and more so when she discovers that her uncle, a gentle if odd recluse, appears to have some vague abilities of his own in the realm.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wanted more!
I almost took off a star because I wanted the story to continue on, then realized that wasn't exactly fair. Read more
Published 3 days ago by C. Kirk
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read,
I was surprised this is based on actual fact. There is also some fiction . The experiments were based on fact. The paranormal studies are true. Read more
Published 1 month ago by m.gibson
4.0 out of 5 stars The Unseen
Interesting to see what people are capable of doing to one another when they want something. Always want to believe in the humanity of others, but disappointed more timed than... Read more
Published 2 months ago by jshelyn
5.0 out of 5 stars after a long absence from reading horror genre, i really got into...
I haven't read a ghost story in a long time so I was ready for this. Most significantly, it scared me. Read more
Published 4 months ago by carol irvin
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine condition.
Prompt delivery.
Fine condition.
Published 5 months ago by Robert C. Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Poltergeist meets Gone With The Wind?
I liked the premise and the story that THE UNSEEN tells quite a lot. I felt that this novel suffered from some pacing issues. Read more
Published 5 months ago by S. D. Beallis
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Exactly Shirley Jackson
Oh, would that The Unseen had remained The Unread.

Sokoloff's premise is admittedly killer: What if the Rhine Lab, Duke's fabled parapsychology program, had stumbled... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jennifer Grey
4.0 out of 5 stars Updated Hill House With Historical Touch
Years so I read about the Rhine experiments and was determined to go to Duke University. Alas, the program had closed the year before my discovery and my life took a different... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Marcia McCord
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart pounding suspense
If you are a fan of Stephen King or Dean Koontz you should definitely give this a try. I could hear the sounds and smell the smells as if I was there. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Lisa M Zatezalo
5.0 out of 5 stars hard to put down
Here I am giving a 5 star for this one (I don't give them easily), but this one hooked me. Now, it took a while to get it started and I know the lower reviews stated it took half... Read more
Published 10 months ago by ggma
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More About the Author

Alexandra Sokoloff is the Thriller Award-winning and Bram Stoker, Anthony, and Black Quill Award-nominated author of the supernatural thrillers THE HARROWING, THE PRICE, THE UNSEEN, BOOK OF SHADOWS, THE SHIFTERS, and THE SPACE BETWEEN, and the Thriller Award-nominated, Amazon bestselling Huntress/FBI series (HUNTRESS MOON, BLOOD MOON, COLD MOON). The New York Times Book Review called her a "daughter of Mary Shelley," and her books "Some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre."

As a screenwriter she has sold original horror and thriller scripts and adapted novels for numerous Hollywood studios. She has also written two non-fiction workbooks: SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS and WRITING LOVE, based on her internationally acclaimed workshops and blog (www.ScreenwritingTricks.com), and has served on the Board of Directors of the WGA, west and the Board of the Mystery Writers of America.

Alex is a California native and a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, where she majored in theater and minored in everything Berkeley has a reputation for. In her spare time (!) she performs with Heather Graham's all-author Slush Pile Players, and dances like a fiend. She is also very active on Facebook. But not an addict. Seriously, it's under control.

Learn more at http://alexandrasokoloff.com

Follow:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/alexsokoloff
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/alexandra.sokoloff
Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/552457.Alexandra_Sokoloff

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