by Michael Phillip Cash
4 out of 5
Paul Russo’s wife just died. While trying to get his family’s life back in order, Paul is being tormented by a demon who is holding his wife's spirit hostage on the other side. His fate is intertwined with an old haunted mansion on the north shore of Long Island called Stillwell Manor. Paul must find clues dating back hundreds of years to set his wife's soul free.
When Paul loses his wife, only his children and his job hold him together. When he's hired to sell Stillwell Manor - an old house with a dark history - Paul is forced to deal with the ghosts and demons that surround him.
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Paul has just lost his wife, Allison, to cancer.
They were literally childhood sweethearts, and he's never known life without her.
For the sake of his kids, he has to pull it together. Starting with going back to work - the cancer treatments depleted their savings, so it's vital Paul sells the Stillwell Manor.
Stillwell is a character all its own. An old, slightly dilapidated mansion, it has enough ghosts, not least the murder-suicide of the previous owners.
Having to spend time in the house, getting it ready to sell, Paul starts to learn some of its dark secrets.
I was expecting this to be solely a ghost/paranormal/horror story. Although this was a very solid spooky story, with believable paranormal activity; there's also a surprisingly sweet story about a family trying to come to terms with the loss of their mum. The intense grief afterwards, as well as the six months of living in limbo, putting their lives on hold, as she got increasingly sicker.
I enjoyed following Paul's story, as he tries to deal with looking after 3 kids, and realises all the things his wife is going to miss out on, as they grow up.
I equally enjoyed the solving of the local mystery, of the girl thrown down the well some 200 years ago.
I liked how it all finished, and the truth behind the demon tormenting Allison's ghost.
This was a well-written short-story, and I look forward to reading more of the author's work.