“The Pandora Room” by Christopher Golden

(On a personal note, my husband is weak as a kitten but home.  Once again, thanks for all the support.)

Genre:         Mystery & ThrillersThe Pandora room
Publisher:    St. Martin’s Press
Pub. Date:   April 23, 2019

This is the author’s second novel with his protagonist, Ben Walker.  Think James Bond, only more realistic. This hero actually feels chronic pain from injuries incurred during his fights with bad guys. The reader first meets the character in Golden’s 2017 novel, “Ararat.”  He joins an archaeological expedition, digging deep within a mountain located in Turkey.  They were looking to find Noah’s ark (and stumbles instead on to the devil).  In “Pandora,” he joins another expedition. Once again, Walker becomes part of the team as a member of the National Science Foundation.  In reality, he works for the US government—spy lies. Nothing new about books with spies and forces beyond scientific understanding, but Golden does it very well, reminiscent to “The Age of Exodus,” by Gavin Scott. In “Pandora,” the archaeological team learns that the infamous titular box is real and buried in an ancient subterranean city located in Northern Iraq.  Golden is a master at creating a claustrophobic atmosphere filled with evil, both real and hallucinatory.  The infamous titular box, which is a jar in this novel, is filled with ancient diseases that once opened turns into a plague.  Do not be surprised if you begin to feel a sore throat.

Enhancing the tale, “Pandora” has an element of current affairs to it.  It seems that both governments, the US and the Iraqis, want the jar in their hands to be used as a weapon.  Now that is a thought that is truly terrifying and probably not all that farfetched.  In this sequel, Walker is fighting demon ghosts underground and soldiers above ground:  A very nice touch.  “Pandora” does not quite have the same finesse as “Exodus.”  Scott simply never misses a beat.  Golden spends a good deal of time explaining why the team is actually experiencing two different types of disease: skimming material.  Still, Ben Walker#2 is a very good supernatural fantasy.  The similarities in both Walker tales are obvious, but as long as you go in knowing this, you will not be disappointed.  If you didn’t read the first tale, this can easily be a standalone novel.   “Pandora” is written razor-sharp to scare the bejesus out of the reader.  Your adrenaline should rise with each chapter.  The secret to Golden’s success seems to be that he writes about supernatural thrills with just the right amount of religious references to make it all feel grounded in something familiar.

I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

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