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No Sleep Tonight

August 27, 2010 - Amy Phelps

Contributing to my lack of sleep is Joe Schreiber with his ultra-creepy, "No Doors, No Windows."

I'd read Schreiber's other books, "Eat the Dark" and "Chasing the Dead" and his recent Star Wars/zombie mash-up, "Death Troopers" but somehow had missed his haunted house book.

Scott Mast has returned to his New Hampshire hometown to attend his father's funeral. Years ago while he attended college, his mother had died in a theater fire that had killed many. Scott returns home to find his younger brother, Owen, has become an alcoholic and his nephew, Henry, already abandoned by his mother, is in need of a parent.

While hunting through some things of his parents, Scott finds an old horror manuscript his father had started, about a strange old house with no corners and a black windowless corridor that leads to something evil. Scott's dream of being a novelist starts to come back at seeing his father's work, and his ex-girlfriend, Sonia, encourages it and him to stay in town and try to finish the manuscript and keep an eye on Henry. When Scott finds out that the house in the book does exist, he rents it.

But Scott soon learns that other things from the manscript are real too, including a little girl in a blue dress. Scott soon learns that his family is tied into a dark legacy of madness and evil, and inevitability. Is there any way out for Scott?

This is such a creepy, atmospheric ghost story that while there are no "gory" scenes to speak of, there are plenty of scares that made me put the book down when reading late at night and decide to finish it in the daylight. And when the ending came, I was just as glad that I had many more hours of daylight ahead of me.

The only quibble I had with the book was a character shown reading "Death Troopers" in one scene. Since the author wrote that book, it took me out of the scene and the story for a moment. But I was right back in with the characters and the terror again the next chapter, so it didn't affect me that much.

"No Doors, No Windows" is published by Del Rey. It is $14 and 274 pages long. Expect to read it in one sitting.


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