When twentysomething A., the unexpected European relative of the Wells family, and his companion, Niamh, a mute teenage girl with shockingly dyed hair, inherit the beautiful but eerie estate of Axton House, deep in the woods of Point Bless, Virginia, it comes as a surprise to everyone—including A. himself. After all, he never even knew he had a “second cousin, twice removed” in America, much less that the eccentric gentleman had recently committed suicide by jumping out of the third floor bedroom window—at the same age and in the same way as his father had before him . . .
Together, A. and Niamh quickly come to feel as if they have inherited much more than just a rambling home and a cushy lifestyle. Axton House is haunted, they know it, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the secrets they slowly but surely uncover. Why all the suicides? What became of the Axton House butler who fled shortly after his master died? What lurks in the garden maze and what does the basement vault keep? And what of the rumors in town about a mysterious gathering at Axton House on the night of the winter solstice?
Told vividly through a series of journal entries, scrawled notes, recovered security footage, letters to Aunt Liza, audio recordings, complicated ciphers, and even advertisements, Edgar Cantero has written a dazzling and original supernatural adventure featuring classic horror elements with a Neil Gaiman-ish twist.
This book is crazy.
That’s the end. See you later, folks…
But in all seriousness, this book is crazy. In the best possible way, of course.
It takes a lot to impress me when the book is written through journal entries or letters. I prefer prose, not reading someone’s correspondence. It’s a peculiar hangup, but I’ve just never enjoyed letters as a medium to convey a story.
That being said, I picked up this book and couldn’t put it down, journal entries and all. I loved the characters of A. and Niamh, as well as the increasingly spooky narrative. And those twists and turns? Perfect. I’m not exaggerating when I say this book left me wigging out until the very last page. Until the very last paragraph, if you can believe it.
A. and Niamh have a wonderfully intricate relationship. How they interact, and how they increasingly rely on each other, drew me in nearly as much as the mystery of Axton House. And believe me, that mystery is definitely worth exploring. It’s addicting, with you constantly turning the pages because you feel as if you’ve just almost touched the core of this enigmatic thing. Cantero’s writing draws you in, dangling curiosity and the need to know perfectly, in a pace and manner that makes you hard-pressed to set the book down.
I don’t want to give anything away about this book, so I’m not going to explain why I enjoyed the characters and the mystery. I believe this is a book you’d enjoy all the more going in blind. But it’s worth it. So. Freaking. Much. I’m giving is a solid 5 out of 5 stars.