Ballentine Books/ Random House, $26.00, 383 pages, ISBN 978-0-8041-7811-2
What do you do when your world gets turned upside down? For most of us the answer is easy, but hard: you start over. And that’s exactly what Ben Tierney, his wife Caroline, and their eight-year-old son Charlie decide to do after novelist Ben’s new book stalls out, Caroline loses her prestigious Wall Street banking job and Charlie is set upon by bullies at school, in the exciting new thriller House of Echoes, by first time author Brendan Duffy.
Just as their life in New York City is collapsing, Ben gets word he’s inherited some property from his great aunt, up in the Adirondack Mountains, the far-north, cold and isolated region of upper New York State. The legacy turns out to be a sprawling, one-thousand acre estate with a huge, albeit dilapidated, mansion in the historic village of Swannhaven, where roots date back all the way to the colonial era. Ben and Caroline waste no time in relocating, then pouring all of their energies and money into restoring the place with the intention of turning it into a first-class destination resort, complete with outdoor recreational activities of all types on their surrounding property. That’s the plan, but they soon find that carrying it out is easier said than done. Swannhaven is a place with secrets . . . sinister secrets . . . Ben starts uncovering only after their restoration is nearing completion and their money is nearly spent. That’s when he realizes that his marriage is falling apart and that his son Charlie, who’s been spending more and more time alone in the woods, is suddenly terrorized by something he’s seen there, but which he’s unwilling to describe.
House of Echoes is atmospheric, creepy and thrilling, with disaster lurking on every page daring the reader to find out what happens next to the beleaguered family who may not survive. If you’re fond of Straub and King, Brendan Duffy may just be your newest, most favorite author. Check him out and see for yourself. And please . . . let your friends know, You saw it in the Mysterious Book Report . . .