Review of Kalbrandt Institute Archives by Chris Chelser
Eva is over the moon with her new job: great pay, loads to learn, and her strange ability to 'read' objects is welcomed. But the more she learns about the Institute and its work, the more she realises she has no idea what she has signed up for...
Five ghost stories across time and space, each more disturbing than the last, warn Eva that the Institute is more than a research centre. Dark secrets are hidden in its archives, but chances are she will not be able to escape them.
The Kalbrandt Institute Archives, Book 1: Hauntings, is book I would classify as "clean" in that it contains little to no references to drugs, sex, etc, which are many of the the crutches that traditional horror relies on. Instead it relies solely on the strength of the stories themselves, as experienced through the touch of the newest Kalbrandt Institute employee, Eva. She's a pyschometrist, meaning that when her bare hands touch something that others have created she can see/sense what happened as though she was the one who had done it herself.
There are 5 stories within the book, and each of them take the reader to a different place and time. Some are recognizable, some are not. All of them are well-written, and none are over-done. Chelser proves she has a deft hand with weaving the stories together, and though I'm not normally a fan of short story collections, I absolutely adored this book.
With that being said, I would be a little wary of reading more from the Kalbrandt Institute Archives in the future if I saw Eva's name attached to it. I really think this is only a plot device that can be used once per author effectively. Especially within the same series. It would be nice to be proved wrong, though!