Friday, February 21, 2014

Crooked House - by Joe McKinney - An engaging ghost story

4.5 of 5 Stars    Review Copy

Robert Bell needs a break and it's come in the form of a job opportunity from his friend, Thom Horner, who is now the head of the English Department at the prestigious Lightner University in San Antonio.

After his sudden departure from the University of Florida where he had a meltdown of sorts when some administrator with no classroom experience whatsoever wanted to tell him how to teach his class, the prospects were not looking good.

On top of that, being out of work had led to money problems and put a strain on his home life.  So when the offer for a position at Lightner came, it was a Godsend .  And on top of that he was offered living arrangements at the Gertrude Miller Estate for the token payment of $100 per month, utilities included.

Robert's response...
"'This is totally a haunted house, isn't it?'      
'Excuse me/'
'You see that right?  Tell me you do.  It's a big crazy looking house that I couldn't possibly afford, but it's getting handed to me at a song.  I mean come on.  I've read my Henry James, my Shirley Jackson.  Christ, I even read The Shining.  This place is crawling with ghosts, isn't it'"

Little did Robert know what was to be in store for himself and his little family.  Not since jack Torrance in Stephen King's The Shining have I seen a better slow descent into madness from a protagonist.  Kudos to Joe McKinney for doing such a great job with that.  And the climatic sequence is one of the best I've read in a long time.

Crooked House is available now as a signed limited edition from Darkfuse publishers, and also in paperback and Kindle formats from

Truly an enjoyable read and highly recommended.

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