Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The 13th by John Everson

Castle House Lodge. A century ago it was an exclusive resort hotel. But for years it's stood empty, a haunting shadow of its former glories. Now, after twenty-five years of rumors and ghost stories, the overgrown grounds are showing signs of being tended. The building itself has been repaired. Castle House has new occupants. 

What was once a haven for the elite is now a madhouse, a private asylum for pregnant women. But are all the patients really insane? And is it just a coincidence that people have begun to disappear from the nearby town? David Shale's girlfriend is one of the missing, and he's determined to find the truth behind the mysterious Dr. Rockford and his house of secrets.(provided by publisher)

John Everson’s 13th, is a slow build atmospheric mystery with an incredible climax.  The reader understands very early on the Castle House Lodge and Dr. Rockford are up to no good, but what that is teased out with a ratcheting tension.  Everson slowly connects the pieces for the reader keeping his audience almost as in the dark as his characters. 
David Shale, Brenda Bean and Christy Sorenson are well realized characters that Everson uses deftly to create his atmosphere of horror.  Each is distinct and acts differently in their stressful situations, yet never plunge head first into slaughter. 
Castle House Lodge is a terrifically realized location, and the sequences in the building are akin to a haunted house where the structure seems to be a character unto itself. 
The small town around the Asylum is populated by interesting and well crafting supporting characters added a realness to the area and an eerily isolated tone akin to the best Twin Peaks episodes. 

In the end;
Cults, an asylum, supernatural horror in a remote location, Everson’s 13th feels tailor made for me.  I appreciated the slow build mystery elements and the final curtain reveal where the book gets bloody, and all your fears become justified.  Christy and David are two of my favorite horror characters and my investment in them as people kept my attention ratcheted.  

Click either book cover for my interview with John Everson

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