Author: F.E. Feeley Jr.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
While recovering from the recent loss of his parents, Daniel Donnelly receives a phone call from his estranged aunt, who turns over control of the family fortune and estate, Timber Manor. Though his father seemed guarded about the past, Daniel’s need for family and curiosity compel him to visit.
Located in a secluded area of the Northwest, Timber Manor has grown silent over the years. Her halls sit empty and a thin layer of dust adorns the sheet-covered furniture. When Daniel arrives to begin repairs, strange things happen. Nightmares haunt his dreams. Memories not his own disturb his waking hours. Alive with the tragedies of the past, Timber Manor threatens to tear Daniel apart.
Sherriff Hale Davis grew up working on the manor grounds. Seeing Daniel struggle, he vows protect the young man who captured his heart, and help him solve the mystery behind the haunting and confront the past—not only to save Daniel’s life, but to save his family, whose very souls hang in the balance.
I started out liking this, it’s an interesting premise. There’s a bit of insta-love going on with Hale, which I didn’t find necessary. They spent enough time together at the house that a natural affection and interest would have developed from their mutual attraction, I wish it hadn’t felt quite so forced.
The first half was good. We got to know all the characters and slowly learned bits and pieces of the back story. I started out liking the varying POV’s but it quickly became tiresome. While I love getting Hale and Carol’s perspective, I found most of the flashbacks to be unnecessary. I also liked Francine’s POV initially, but while her backstory was fascinating, it really was not relevant or necessary to this story. And if you’re going to say someone has a Creole accent then I expect their dialogue to be written with a Creole accent.
All the ghosty stuff was balanced out well with the personal stuff and relationship development. In true horror-movie fashion, I became increasingly agitated with Carol and Danny for staying in the house. Complete chaos will occur and they’ll talk about the murderous house… and then be like “okay well g’night!” How could you sleep there?!?!
By about 80% I was kinda done. I felt like I knew what was gonna happen and didn’t really need to keep going. Danny and Hale had become a little too perfect-in-love-soul-mates and there just wasn’t the dramatic tension I expected given the supposed high stakes.
If you enjoy various POV’s and flashbacks into different people’s stories then this one might be for you. Despite being sorta in the horror genre I didn’t find it scary, so fear not. It’s obvious fairly quickly what’s going on, but info is revealed bit by bit to keep the details mysterious.