Personal Effects is a supernatural thriller series by JC Hutchins. At the most basic level it's the first hand account of Art Therapist Zach Taylor as he struggles to help his patients, make sense of the strange happenings around him, and cope with his own mental instability.
However, the series is unusual in that it gives the reader a series of clues to follow in order to learn the full story — calling the phone numbers in the story lead to real voice mails, and all websites mentioned really exist. The first printed book of the series even comes with several "personal effects", like handwritten notes, business cards, and photos.
Overall the story holds together even if the reader doesn't choose to investigate further, though it's limited to what Zach Taylor personally knows.
Books in this series include:
Personal Effects provides examples of the following tropes:
- Abandoned Hospital: While the sanatorium the protagonist works at isn't abandoned, it's not well-funded so some parts are in poor repair, leading to scenes that evoke this trope.
- Action Survivor
- The Cassandra: Zach sometimes gets a huge urge to draw, and the resulting pictures can be prophetic. However, he doesn't believe in that sort of thing, passing it off as sudden artistic inspiration, or at best viewing it as a flash of insight.
- Chekhov's Armoury: This series is made of this trope.
- Darkness = Death: Most of the truly supernatural occurrences seem happen in near or complete darkness.
- Evil Feels Good
- Fatal Flaw: The protagonist has a crippling darkness phobia.
- Geeky Turn-On: "Geeky Goddess" Rachael
- The Law of Conservation of Detail: Both subverted and played straight. In the stories themselves detail is conserved by limiting the viewpoint to Zach's firsthand account. Exploring the clues behind the story causes the number of details to explode. Rachael's PixelVixen707 blog particularly ignores this trope.
- Missing Mom
- Le Parkour: Zach's brother Lucas. Zach too but to a lesser extent.
- We Help the Helpless: Zach, while he tends to go above and beyond the call of duty, is in fact paid to do so in the name of helping his patients.