Sometimes you just need a good haunted house story to properly set the mood as you hunker down for a night wrapped in a blanket and a toasty beverage by your side. First time novelist Richard Salter offers up his wickedly fun time-traveling haunted house story, The Patchwork House, for just such a night. Yes, you read correctly, this isn’t your average haunted house tale.
James Randall along with this girlfriend, travel to the English countryside to view the sprawling estate that his father has just purchased. Their plan is to meet with an old school friend and his wife to access the new property and spend the weekend in the ancient mansion.
Like all haunted house stories, Binsham Park has a dark and lurid history. Its generations of inhabitants each contributed to its “patchwork” of varying architectural features and let’s not forget the ghosts, some of whom did terrible things at Binsham Park. When the lights go down, things immediately start to go bump in the night. At the strike of a clock, an angry entity is able to change the appearance of a room and shift its current occupants into such vile and hostile times of the house’s past. The visitors cling to life as they struggle to survive in a house of puzzling horrors.
The story isn’t new. A group of people trapped in a haunted house, rich with history, for a weekend of thrills and spooks. What’s original here is the author’s ability to blend elements of sci-fi into a time-old tale. The fun is trying to figure out the time altering puzzles the author has left us while we are locked in and gripped to each quickly turning page. New and fresh, complex and haunting, it’s highly enjoyable!
Reviewer: Jonathan Reitan
The Patchwork House, by Richard Salter; Nightscape Press, December 2014; 236 pages; $13.99 paperback/$4.99 ebook.