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The Supernatural Enhancements

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  6,539 ratings  ·  1,244 reviews
What begins as a clever, gothic ghost story soon evolves into a wickedly twisted treasure hunt in The Supernatural Enhancements, Edgar Cantero's wholly original, modern-day adventure.

When twentysomething A., the unexpected European relative of the Wells family, and his companion, Niamh, a mute teenage girl with shockingly dyed hair, inherit the beautiful but eerie estate o
Hardcover, 353 pages
Published August 12th 2014 by Doubleday
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Edgar Hello, Nadine. I'm happy you liked it. There are several sequels conceived for TSE, but presently both my publishers and I prefer not to stick to one …moreHello, Nadine. I'm happy you liked it. There are several sequels conceived for TSE, but presently both my publishers and I prefer not to stick to one series and try new ideas. My next novel, coming summer 2017, is unrelated to TSE, but it will also be horror—with a fair dose of jokes. As for the one after that, I'm still deciding: many ideas in queue, little time to make them into books! Thank you for making this one worthwhile. (less)

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Average rating 3.65  · 
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May 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
this book is so fun. so, so fun.

laid out in bullet points, this book contains many elements that are potential annoyance-triggers for me, but it somehow managed to execute a neat little sidestep-sashay, and turned what could have been an eyeroll from me into a delighted swoon.

pretend these are bullet points, and not dashes.

- gimmicky layout. the story is told through diary entries, letters, video footage, dream journals, excerpts from academic journals, and other bits of ephemera, and starts wit
Even in a genre tolerant of oddness, The Supernatural Enhancements is going to be a mixed read for most readers. It’s described by the publishers as a ‘paranormal thriller,’ but I’d adjust that and say it has a strong adventure story feel with mystical elements that slow down the pacing. The elements sound like a perfect elevator pitch: a bequeathed and haunted mansion, a treasure hunt, a mysterious society. The main characters are a twenty-three year old English A., who promptly quits his “stud ...more
Feb 29, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was super fun. If you like books that are told in unique formats, then you'll probably enjoy this one. It's like Night Film and National Treasure and a gothic horror story all rolled into one really fast-paced, mystery novel. I don't want to explain the premise at all because I went into this one knowing absolutely nothing about it and it definitely enhanced my reading experience. But I will say, the ending was a bit anticlimactic for me. I was expecting something a lot grander and mor ...more
Rachel Pollock
Aug 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: grim
So, let me clarify what my rating is actually about here. If i could, i'd give the first 300+ pages of this book five stars, because i loved it from the absolute get-go. I loved everything about it--the concept, the structure, the characters, the narrative choices, the use of language, everything. I read the damn thing at a racing clip, nonstop.

But, the last 30 or so pages, it all fell in on itself like a house of cards with a pile of shit in the middle. I categorically began to hate it, and i c
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
I was awarded this book by NetGalley - and I am so thankful!!! I really liked it!

First, I was drawn in by the cover and title, hmmm. I quickly was so immersed in the story, I completely forgot that I like to try to figure out a mystery!

The first page being missing, I felt as if I was not being told something on purpose, something that I should know, but I forgot all about it after a chapter...

I was reading and enjoying all the suspense, the characters were so well developed.

Nearing the end I w
I think it's pretty clear at this point that I'm a total sucker for gimmicks. Give me transcripts, articles, excerpts from (real or fake) reference books, and it's more than likely that I'll love it (some recent examples being The Three or Night Film). This one in particular is stuffed to the brim with all of the above, and more. There are even numerous clues and puzzles presented, none of which I actually had the brainpower to solve, but they make such a fun little treasure hunt whether they're ...more
Montzalee Wittmann
Wow, taking supernatural to a new level!

The Supernatural Enhancements has a fantastic writing style and sucked me in right away! It has twists, turns, surprises right up to the last page! Love the unique characters too, not accustomed to see in a mute character as one of the main players! Nice change and have a different feel to many scenes. Excellent read!
May 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Delightfully quirky. This story was totally my style.

It gave me that giddy feeling that you get when you first start a book and you realize you're going to love it.

An odd yet lovable twenty-something European kid inherits a fortune from a distant American relative, along with an old mansion steeped in mystery and haunted by a dark past. He is joined by an equally eccentric companion, a bright young woman who is mute (due to unknown childhood emotional trauma) and communicates solely through writ
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
Not the book for me. I struggled to get through this, I wanted to love it. I couldn’t like it no matter how hard I tried. It wasn’t the story it was the format. The story is told through diary entries, notes, letters, video feeds, codes, histories and others. I just couldn’t stay interested, it jumped around to much for this reader. I expected paranormal fantasy, what I got was more of a mystery, deciphering codes, pages on this subject bored me to sleep several nights while trying to slip th
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
4.5 Stars *minor editing sorry*

What I expected and at the same time not.

Blurbs describing this book:
Edgar Cantero has written a dazzling and original supernatural adventure featuring classic horror elements with a Neil Gaiman-ish twist

Told vividly and mysteriously through a series of journal entries, scrawled notes, recovered security footage, letters to a mysterious "Aunt Liza," audio recordings, complicated ciphers, and even advertisements, Edgar Cantero has written a dazzling and original sup
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Emily by: karen
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I really, really wanted to like this book. Lots of smart people I know liked this book! In fact, I did enjoy this up until approximately the halfway point, when it takes a sharp turn away from being a haunted house story and goes in a completely insane direction. I suppose you could call it a "twist," but I'll call it a "plot that makes no goddamn sense." I JUST HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.

(view spoiler)
SoWrongItsRANDI {Bell, Book & Candle}
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I received this ARC from Net Galley and Doubleday Publishing in exchange for an honest review

Bell, Book and Candle Blog Review

This book was absolutely brilliant. The story was fast paced and instantly ensnared me. Every time something creepy happened, I was like...

The build-up was amazing, and I found myself wanting to jump inside the book and interact with the characters when it came to clues. Speaking of which, I have heard of encrypting letters during wars, but I never knew the types and how
‘...all those pathetic lonely people fooling one another into their clumsy games of afterlife and cosmic relevance just to avoid noticing the nauseating sadness of their real lives. How could it sink that low?
That’s how I used to feel, bound by reason to boredom.
And then along came Axton House.’

The main character, known only as “A.” inherits Axton House, a mansion in American, after a second-cousin twice removed by the name of Ambrose Wells commits suicide by throwing himself from his bedro
Kat Heckenbach
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
You shouldn't judge a book by its cover. But oh, this cover....I HAD to get the book just for that. Of course, I looked at the description--a mysterious suicide and a haunted house? I'm in.

It started off okay. At first I wasn't sure I was going to be able to deal with the way the story is told. The journal entries didn't bother me--they read basically like first person prose. The notes back and forth between A. and Niamh were effective and really brought Niamh to life for me (I completely adored
Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
I can see I'm in the minority here since the majority obviously liked it much better than I did. The cheese stands alone? Here are my thoughts after finishing it just a half hour ago. I had trouble with the execution. I actually had trouble following the action at times and got a bit confused. The story is laid out with quite a few different methods in telling the story. Diary entries, notes, letters, etc. The main female character is mute which only adds to the discophany as he would talk at he ...more
This book was a fun book to read. A felt a little towards the end it was rushed and could have gone on for a bit more, my opinion, of course. Reading this made me think about all those nights my family use to watch the X-Files. I will have to look into more books by Cantero.
**Thank you Doubleday and Netgalley for providing this in exchange for an honest review**

This book completely blindsided me. Of course the story itself interested me (why would I request it if it didn't?), but when I noticed it was told through journal entries, Blair Witch style camera footage, and letters, my excitement was dampened. This isn't a writing style I'm fond of. There have been a couple exceptions, but these books usually end up as DNFs or 1 Star reads. In this case, I can't wait to
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A. has inherited Axton House from a distant relative. Along with his mute teenage companion, Niamh, they move to Virginia, taking up residence in the house and begin to unravel the secrets surrounding the mysterious demise of his distant cousin and the secret society that he was part of.

I loved the gimmick of this story, it's told through the use of diary entries, letters to Aunt Liz, audio recordings,
Richard Gazala
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Edgar Cantero's thriller "The Supernatural Enhancements" is the latest entry in the centuries-old narrative device that is the epistolary novel. The device, where a story is told via a montage of variably trustworthy letters, journal entries, newspaper clippings, etc., been used by many authors to better effect. (Stoker's "Dracula," Shelley's "Frankenstein," and Collins' "The Moonstone" are a just a few classics that leap immediately to mind.) Cantero's effort to tread in those well-worn footpri ...more
Sep 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
The Supernatural Enhancements is a paranormal mystery story told in letters, notes, audio and video recordings, snippets of articles, sections of books and etc. It begins as A., a man whose age is never given but is probably in his twenties or thirties, inherits Axton House from a distant relation. Throughout the novel he writes letters to his "Aunt Liza", describing the property and his encounters within. Accompanying him is Niamh (Neve), whose exact age is never given, but is apparently somewh ...more
Oct 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
In my review of Horrorstör, I made the comment that it felt too "millennial" for my tastes. I'm going to say the same about this book right off the bat. I'm not sure what it is about these books these days, or if I'm just too old and curmudgeonly at my ripe age of 39 to care about any of it, or what, but these books appear to be written by and for people who have no attention span.

This entire book is what we would call "epistolary" because it is told through a series of documents, rather than a
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
There are two major types of reviewers in this world: those who write reviews to praise, and those who write reviews to criticize. I am definitely the latter.

This is the second book I've picked up at the library this year with a really pretty, cool looking cover. I am never going to make that mistake again. Both of them are HUGE letdowns.

It's told through various mediums - security footage (why security footage of all things?), a dream journal, letters, conversations recorded by the mute charact
Jamie Stewart
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Edgar Cantero you’ve done it again!!! The Supernatural Enhancements is a energetic and entertaining read that shows off this writers talent for pulling a reader into a story and running away with there imagination. It is also one weird tale and anyone coming into this expecting a certain type of story based on how the cover looks or the blurb will be surprised. First and foremost The Supernatural Enhancements is a mystery about a mansion and it’s previous owner. However, there is also the myster ...more
Melissa McShane
It was interesting enough that I'm not going to give it a starred rating despite not finishing it (I gave it 150 pages), but I kept having the feeling that it was trying to be cleverer than it is. There are so many clevernesses that I had trouble staying connected to it; I was always conscious of "look at this cool thing I did." Disappointing, because I love puzzles and codes, and I think the interweaving of different media (diary, transcriptions, excerpts from books) was well done, so I'm just ...more
Sci-Fi & Scary
Apr 20, 2018 marked it as dnf
DNF'ed at 25% - The mute girl noting where every conversation happens feels unrealistic. The format doesn't work for me most of the time. When I love it, I love it, but otherwise I hate it. I thought his way with words was going to carry me through, but realized at the 25% point that I had no desire to continue this book. ...more
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
An uneven experience with a few really intriguing ideas that don't mesh well along with the device of transcribed recordings and diary entries (which I normally enjoy) employed to tedious effect and a character (view spoiler) - feel the burn of my sarcasm when I say that's my favorite thing ever. I am defintely side-eyeing the shit out of A. and Niamh as an item given their age difference; although I did the math wrong and A. is twenty-three, not twenty-ei ...more
Amy (Other Amy)
I am indeed writing from Axton House, about to turn in for the very first night; Niamh and I share a bed big enough for each of us to throw an orgy without her guests disturbing mine. Glew gave us a tour around the house this evening, but we haven't really seen it. Not in the way you meant that day, when you said that a passenger on a ship doesn't see the ropes the way a sailor sees them. Having seen the house would mean being able to go around it and predict which room awaits behind each double ...more
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of stories that blur fantasy, sci-fi and horror elements
Recommended to Eric by: Nicole Evans
It would be impossible to write a review about this novel without mentioning the non-traditional format in which it is written, so I'll just get that out of the way first; The author uses diaries, letters, audio and video recording transcripts, and snippets of books and newspaper articles to piece together the narrative. While this may sound gimmicky -- it is gimmicky -- it faded to the background very quickly to me. This surprised me as I thought it would be tough to read something in this form ...more
Jul 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-books
Wasn't sure if I was going to like this one based on the mixed reviews, and while I enjoyed it, I think it works for only a specific type of reader. If you enjoyed Marisha Pessl's "Night Film" or "Special Topics in Calamity Physics," you'll probably be a fan of Edgar Cantero's "The Supernatural Enhancements." The narrative is interspersed with dialogue from transcribed conversations and security footage, clips from journals and resource material, which makes reading the novel in bite-sized chunk ...more
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Stacia by: karen
A book that's a little bit gothic, a little bit adventure, a little bit mystery, & a whole lot of fun. A spooky inherited house, cryptology, crystal balls, a labyrinth, mythologies, quests around the world, winter solstice, weird dreams, & a ghost make this a perfect October book. If you enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Inception (the movie), &/or historical/secret society books (like Dan Brown's), you will have some rip-roaring fun with this book.

In true Souther
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Edgar is a writer and cartoonist from Barcelona. Once a promising author in the local scene with his awarded 2007 debut Dormir amb Winona Ryder, the highbrow Catalan literary tradition soon lost influence on him in favor of Hollywood blockbusters, videogames, and mass-market paperbacks. The punk dystopian thriller Vallvi (2011) was his last book in Catalan before switching to E

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