Book Title: Slade House
Author: David Mitchell
Publisher: Sceptre 2015
Page Count: 233
Genre: Psychological Horror/Mystery
Audience: Those who enjoy a short, varied and incredibly creepy piece of fiction.
Summed up in one word: Haunting
First Impression: This piece was short listed for an award and was recommended to me via Goodreads, when I picked up a physical copy I just had to get right into it. The cover art is phenomenal, the synopsis inside the first page drags you in kicking and screaming and spits you out the other side a bit worse for wear.
Summary Of The Book:
Young Nathan and his mother are invited to Slade House to dine with their newly acquired friends. Upon arrival at the street they are supposed to find Slade House they only find a brick wall...after several trips up and down the street they come across a dark and mysterious door with no handle, could they have missed it before? After they enter they are met by the Lady and her son who go out of their way to make the Bishops welcome at their home. As their visit to Slade House progresses the world around Nathan starts to play tricks, all fun and games he thinks, until when arriving at the top of the stairs he finds a portrait of himself, in the clothes he is wearing that very day, eyeless...
After a lengthy and reassuring dream about his father, Nathan wakes up in the company of Jonah & Norah, the Grayer twins. The pair want something from Nathan Bishop, and they are going to take it as they are hungry and need it to feed the lifestyle that the twins live. They will take his soul, they will share between them and then leave Nathan to slowly pass into a new realm, wherever that maybe...
Fast forward 9 years and meet Gordon Edmunds, he is investigating the missing Bishops, who's disappearance was reported by a witness who had fallen into a coma 9 years ago on the day they went missing. At Slade House he meets a lonely widow who has not heard of the Bishops but is in desperate need of some company, Gordon can oblidge, he will be put to good use.
Every 9 years the twins need to feed, each time they take another person, their story, myth and existence becomes more of a possibility to the outside world they are trying to avoid. Come and see for yourself. In this story is a series of haunting and incomprehensibly evil tales that occur every 9 years to unsuspecting but special people who the twins need for their own greedy, selfish gain. There is horror, story depth and an original, awesome plot that will leave you speechless.
I was relieved that this book was not just a pretty face. I was very impressed with the artwork and the synopsis, I was glad to see that it was just as good as it looks. Slade House is set between 1979 and 2015 and follows the events that occur every 9 years between these dates. Yes the day in question is Halloween which is very cheesy but it is forgiveable as the holiday doesn't factor in much to the story that Mitchell has crafted here.
The subjects in this book in each phase are great, they are each very unique, relevant to the era they represent and each stage brings a new layer to the ambience that DM is setting here. The Bishops are innocent and poor folk who want to see the better side of life. Edmunds is a bit sleazy but he means well and acts adds some masculinity to proceedings. The 3rd act, in which a party are invited into Slade House including Sally who is the twins intended target starts to disorientate the abilities and advantages that the villains have over their subjects. This is the turning point in the story and it evolves from here into more of a life story of the Grayer twins, their magic, their life and how they operate to get what they want. With all the twists and turns on the twins side, it was nice for the last section to be more of a twist on them, as they deserve it... a lot.
At no point did I lose momentum, though I was disappointed that the story lost sight of those left behind. Edmunds finding Rita Bishop in the house is one of these opportunities that I would have enjoyed some elaboration on, but the story quickly whisked away to a new story piece. The twins only focus on one soul at a time, and each finale of a section is just as gruelling as the last. I was impressed with DM's subtlety on changing the tides of power from the twins to the subjects over time, but with a confusing and very under explained theory on how they did so was slightly annoying.
The twins themselves are the high point of this story, along with the plot. The two are one and the same and they are pulled off superbly with horror, psychological terror and magic threaded right through them. DM evolved them nicely, giving them more room to shine with each passing opportunity. I did not really get into their back-story, the why they feel the need to try and live forever, it is discussed but I felt it was obligatory and far removed from the characters they seem to be in the here and now.
Overall, read this book. It is written by an A-List author and that really shows. Certain plot points have been seen elsewhere but this is by no means a cliché. Gripping, chilling and compelling, find out for yourself.
If you enjoyed this review then I have done my job, Please meet me at my blog www.alwaystrustinbooks.blogspot.co.uk and discuss all the books, every single one and more. Have a great week and I hope to see you around.