The Haunted Maze by Theo Fenraven

        He briefly considered the possibility he wouldn't find someone in this first group, but
                       just as quickly, he dismissed the idea. These men were intelligent,
                                                attractive, and good at what they did.
                                              He would click with at least one of them.

Percy Callendar is one of the richest men in the world, and he hasn't even reached his 30th birthday. But, money can only buy so much and in order to hopefully find someone to love he implements a plan.Over a two year period he has a house built full of scary, challenging, riddle solving rooms. One man per month over a twelve month period will try to complete the maze. Percy thinks that whoever can come through on the other side will be someone he can match intellectually plus will have a great sense of humor which is just as important.

Sage Donovan is building his own business and it seems to be making strides. It certainly has been taking all of his time to build the company he wants. Receiving an invitation to enter the Haunted Maze is quite a thrill. He knows the basics about the house but can't understand why he was invited. He doesn't worry too much deciding to go for it. His roommate and co-partner Ross can keep the business running for a while.

Sage knows the things that go bump in the night are fake, I know they are fake, yet I still found myself being pulled into the maze with Sage. The fear of what had happened, still might happen, was palpable and I was immediately caught up in the intricacies of each room. All of a sudden it dawned on me I was holding my breath. Getting tickled at myself for becoming so engrossed in the words at least allowed me to catch my breath. If you are familiar with this author then you already know how easily he can take you from the here and now to another time and place.

Percy is quite impressed with Sage's ability to rationalize and talk himself through each obstacle. Each facet he faces is more complex than the last. He soon comes face to face with his biggest fear and the realization of what is ahead is not good. Just as strength and perseverance kicks in to get him through the next phase something horrible happens.

Percy was elaborate with his maze and surprise elements but he was not able to predict the biggest surprise of all. His biggest concern is to get to Sage but the maze and escape routes are no longer visible.

At his core, Percy wants to love and be loved. Whether that happens, I'm not sure. The story closes alluding you to believe things will at least be heading in the right direction. I would definitely like to see more of this story and see if things did or did not work out. I think they complement each other well so I am choosing to believe they are on a date right now, laughing and joking about spiders.

One of the many qualities Theo Fenraven has is his ability to use vivid and expressive grammar. He can easily pull you into the story with the simple use of descriptive details that give you a visual of that particular moment. This increases your joy of the story making it seem as though you really are a part of what is going on. It's comfortable and you will be lulled into the heart of the story. The concept of the maze gives credibility to what we all would like to know ahead of time before launching into a relationship. Even though it's something that most of us could never pull off, I definitely appreciate the author's imagination and his ability to take us on a thrilling journey from start to finish.

Overall impression: I was able to get wrapped up in the story and it kept my full concentration. It was enjoyable as well as creative. There is humor and good fun and if you like angst there is definitely some of that. The story can easily be read in one setting which is good because once you start you don't want to stop until the end. It may be titled The Haunted Maze but it is worth reading any time.

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