Catacomb is the third book in the Asylum series by Madeleine Roux. As with the previous two books, Roux includes vintage photos throughout to make the experience creepier than the story already is, and the line between reality and imagination is blurred.
Senior year is finally over and Dan, Abby, and Jordan are getting together once last time before college starts and life begins to take them on separate paths. Jordan is moving to New Orleans to stay with his uncle; Dan and Abby are helping him move and go along on the road trip. Predictably, the group realizes that they are being tracked and followed. Dan has a ghostly vision of his father, but not of his mother. Does this mean that she is alive somewhere? Dan also starts receiving messages from Micah, who died in the previous book. Abby photographs parts of an old cemetery and they discover that someone has been digging up graves. Why would someone do such a distasteful thing? By time they reach New Orleans, the group is happy to be off the road. Of course, that is not the end of the story.
Dan and Abby help Jordan settled into his uncle’s house and they explore parts of the city together. Dan befriends a shop owner, Oliver, and his girlfriend, but Jordan and Abby get the sense that Oliver is hiding something. In conversation with Oliver, the group finds out that Oliver and Micah used to be friends and work for the Bone Artist. Oliver also has something that Dan wants – a box of his parents belongings. As usual, the group investigates the Bone Artist and his secret society, which has ties to Dan’s parents, Brookline (of course), and deep roots in New Orleans.
Catacomb was an okay book. It could be that I enjoyed the first two books so much that the third book felt predictable and not as exciting. Roux adds a bit more gore to this installment of the Asylum series, but I found myself seeing it all coming before I read it. Just like the first two books, the Bone Artist and the secret society had ties to Brookline and Warden Daniel Crawford, a character was beat up and a minor character died, Dan keeps dangerous secrets from the group for no reason, and the ending is left open-ended.
As a series, Asylum is really creepy and incredibly well written. The first two books are by far stronger than Catacomb. The photos that are placed throughout the books heighten the unnerving story and make the reader feel as if they are on the journey with Dan, Abby, and Jordan. However, the sequel to the series should not be left so open-ended with Dan and the introduction of his mother. I had so many questions for her that were not answered and there was no hint as to what the relationship would be like with Dan after she speaks to him on campus. An Epilogue of that just that would have been nice.