I used to think I loved Peter Straub’s horror books, my favorite being The Talisman collaboration novel with Steven King and I loved Shadowland that he did solo , but man is this short book a miss. I gave this book a rare 2 stars out of 5 the only reason this book got 2 stars instead of one is it has one moment that actually creeped me way the heck out out, that’s the only reason it does not get one star.
The plot is English professor Standish gets accepted to Esswood Mannor an inclusive house that was once a main stay to writers such as D.H. Lawerence, Henry James, and T.S. Eliot. He has a colleague that was rejected years earlier, but he has something special the subject he wants to research is a family member that stayed and died their. He finds the remote house just after he has a strange encounter with some of the local townies The house is creepy and filled with secrets, involving the residents and his family.
What I did like: one scene really creeped me out is about a guy describing a horrendous murder years ago that resembles a couple of characters that he just met it town, it is the only scene that really works, and it works very well. The book is a short 200 pages if it was any more probably would not have finished.
What I didn’t like: The way it is written it easy to get lost and wether he’s describing a painting or the actual place, I got lost and could not picture the house at all. Standish is a prick and is really hard to like or feel any empathy at all. The twist or the reveal was pretty dumb and doesn’t answer enough questions. The story is a low rent version of Stephen King’s the Shining, just with out the good writing. I can not tell you again how bad the twist, Up until now Fear Nothing by Dean Knootz had the worst book twist I every read, in terms of film it is M. Night The Village bad twist.
I would not recommend this book, skip it, I’ve only read the one solo novel other than this and it was actually good, so check out Shadowlands other than this crap.