Rating: 5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Ghastly Studios made horror movies in the 1970s, with their films falling somewhere between shlock and camp. They had just enough true genius to gain a bit of cult clout that, even now, keeps their memories lingering in the nightmares of people today. But after the death of his favorite film star, Jack’s uncle Eli shut the studio down, spending his remaining days living in a small bungalow behind the iron gates with only ghosts to keep him company. When Uncle Eli died, he left his legacy and his life’s work to Jack who … has no idea what to do with it.

Jack’s had offers to buy the land, but the offer he’s actually considering is that of Asa Barrett, a promising director who wants to re-open Ghastly Studios and start making his own horror movies. And Jack is more than tempted — tempted by Asa’s passion, his enthusiasm, his love of the genre, and his appreciation of everything Ghastly Studios created. And, yes, he’s hot. Beyond hot.

When Asa makes Jack an offer to join him and be a silent partner in the new MockingBird-Ghastly Studio Productions, he decides to accept, on one condition: he doesn’t want to be a silent partner. He wants to be a full partner. He wants to be part of his Uncle Eli’s life’s work. And he wants to to it alongside Asa.

There’s more to the studio than just leaky pipes, electrical damage, and a crumbling foundation. There’s also the mystery of Uncle Eli’s lost films, found in a hidden room in the basement. Why were they hidden away? Why was there a cross nailed to the wall? And will Jack lose his chance at love before it even begins?

Heart of the Mummy is the first book in the Ghastly Studio series, and I’m already hooked. As a fan of horror movies — especially old ones — this book called to me. And I wasn’t disappointed in the least. The tension, the drama, and the story beats all read like a 70s horror movie, complete with mysterious figures, monsters who turn out to be all too human (and humans who turn out to be all too monstrous), and compassion and courage winning the day.

The setting is a dilapidated studio with sound stages, echoing lots, creepy basements, and cramped offices with linoleum and 70s era furniture. Asa is the energetic, artistic, clever, and snarky director who is living his dreams … but it’s a lonely life with no one at his side to love. Enter hero number two, Jack, who — like a good gothic hero — has secrets locked behind a stoic exterior. He’s calm, quiet, compassionate ,and brave where Asa is bold. Dark and light, extrovert and introvert, they have an opposites attract-style appeal, but they’re both so similar. They both dream in celluloid, having grown up with the horrors and heroes on television as their friends. Jack was raised by a director, Asa grew up to be one. Both of them share a love of horror, history, and honor … honoring Ghastly Films, honoring Uncle Eli, and doing the right thing for the people who work for them.

Working against them is a curse! And a mummy! And a witch! And a scandal! It’s all so dramatic, and yet it’s treated seriously and sincerely. I really, really enjoyed this book. Asa gets off some wonderfully snarky lines, and the mummy — and the curse — had a nice, creative twist to them that I had fun with. It’s just enough ghosts and goblins to get you in the mood without anything too scary (though a small note; as in many murder mysteries, a side character is killed and the characters feel very badly about it) or too dark. If you’re looking for a light-hearted romance to read for October, this one should be at the top of your list.

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