Author: David Mitchell
Rating: 4 stars
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.
A dark alley that seems to come and go at will. A mysterious garden door that only certain people can open. A pair of seriously creepy twins, and a series of disappearances that take place on the last Sunday of October, every nine years…
Slade House, David Mitchell’s follow-up/companion to The Bone Clocks, is a taut, twisty book that gave me genuine chills. It’s short enough to read in a single sitting, and builds on some of the mythology created in Bone Clocks.
Essentially, Slade House is built of five stories that don’t quite standalone. The first is “The Right Sort“–the story Mitchell published last year on Twitter. That story features Nathan, an apparently autistic boy who falls victim to a soul-sucking horror. The other stories center on a divorced cop, an overweight and emotionally unstable teen, and, nine years later, her sister, searching for answers. Finally one of the viewpoint characters from The Bone Clocks shows up, to close out the story.
You don’t absolutely need to have read The Bone Clocks to enjoy Slade House, at least for the first four parts, but the final chapter is fairly dependent on knowledge of that book. That chapter is also, for me, the weakest, though it leads to the evil twins getting their inevitable due. I enjoyed the mounting tension and creepiness of the first four stories, but, perhaps because the character featured in the last story was my least favorite viewpoint Bone Clocks character, I didn’t feel as satisfied by the resolution as I should have.
If this was nothing more than a standalone haunted house story, without all of the mythology and terminology from Mitchell’s shared universe thrown in the pot, I think it would have been a little more successful. It’s still really good though. What Mitchell is best at is voices, and he’s able to create fully round characters with fascinatingly diverse voices in relatively short spaces here. This is a slight book but not a frivolous one. And it was a great spooky read for a rainy autumn night.