Contemporary · lgbtqia content · mental health · own voices author · Paranormal · suspense

REVIEW: Testament by Jose Nateras

The Official Description: Gabe Espinosa, is trying to dig himself out of the darkness. Struggling with the emotional fallout of a breakup with his ex-boyfriend, Gabe returns to his job at The Rosebriar Room; the fine dining restaurant at the historic Sentinel Club Chicago Hotel. Already haunted by the ghosts of his severed relationship, he’s drastically unprepared for the ghosts of The Sentinel Club to focus their attentions on him as well.

When a hotel guest violently attacks Gabe, he finds himself the target of a dark entity’s rage; a rage built upon ages of racial tension and toxic masculinity. Desperate to escape the dark spiral he’s found himself in, Gabe flees across the city of Chicago and dives into the history of the hotel itself. Now, Gabe must push himself to confront the sort of evil that transcends relationships and time, the sort of evil that causes damage that ripples across lives for generations.

Gabe must fight to break free from the dark legacy of the past; both his own and that of the hotel he works in.

Just the facts: Queer characters, horror with ghosts, historical racism, dealing with racism as a gay POC.

A terrifying story about the past coming back to haunt workers in a hotel.  – Kinzie Things

My thoughts bit: What a terrifying ride this novel is! so let’s see… Gabe is returning to work after a suicide attempt, he’s recently broken up with his boyfriend… so things are pretty raw for him on all fronts. I don’t mean to minimize what happened to Gabe…but I don’t want to give away too many details about what is revealed in the novel.

Gabe returns to work but he’s unsettled. Of course, he’s still missing Kenny – the partner who cheated on him and moved out of their home – but he’s feeling unsettled in the hotel he works in. He can’t really put his finger on why he’s feeling so unsettled. It’s one of those things where he’s seeing figures out of the corner of his eyes, he feels the air move around him… he feels eyes on him.

He tries to put it all behind him and get back into the swing of work. The first customer of the day goes well for about 3 minutes then Gabe finds himself being attacked. The man’s entire demeanor changes from when he walks into the dining room… suddenly he’s agile, strong and definitely tries to kill Gabe.

From this point in the novel… Gabe is haunted by more than just his ended relationship. It’s as though the spirit from the hotel is following him, stalking him through the Chicago.  There are some terrible attacks on Gabe … and he beings to think he’s losing his mind. I mean, who wouldn’t?

Gabe is a great character. Nateras does a great job of writing about some of the issues that Gabe faces as a POC… who is also gay! Racism is at the source of the haunting that’s going on… and Gabe is a convenient victim.

The author did a great job of ratcheting up the fear and anxiety in some of the scenes. I will definitely never ride the subway again without taking a careful look around me. Come to think of it, I probably won’t want to get in an elevator for a while either!

Nice and spooky with a good dose of timely topics! Thanks! Enjoyed this one!

Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) Past suicide attempt, depression due to loss of relationship, assault, supernatural stalking, sexual harassment, racism, hate crime, physical assault, terrifying scenes, description of rape, racial based hate crime.

Links: Goodreads // The Author // The Publisher

I received an ARC of Testament by Jose Nateras from NineStar Press via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

ratings legend

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