House of Windows
John Langan, . . Night Shade, $24.95 (260pp) ISBN 978-1-59780-152-2
A two-time International Horror Guild Award finalist for short fiction, Langan pens a surprisingly plodding first novel. Lovely widow Veronica Croydon corners the unnamed narrator at a party and offers to relate the weird story of her husband, Roger, and his disappearance. She spins an odd tale of adultery, family struggles and a house possibly haunted by the spirit of Roger's son, Ted, a Special Forces officer who died in Afghanistan after Roger disowned and cursed him. Though Veronica's story spans two nights, the level of detail stretches the confessional conceit well beyond the bounds of believability. Literary allusions offer a spark of interest, but even fans of Lovecraft and Peter Straub, whom Langan tries hard to emulate, will find it difficult to navigate the unnecessary tangents and repetitious minutiae that plague this pseudoliterary potboiler.
Reviewed on: 08/03/2009