Review: Abode by Morgan Sylvia

By Morgan Sylvia
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Morgan Sylvia crafts a darn fine ghost story in her debut novel, Abode. It's got some good suspense, and I dug the slight twists she interjects into the nature of this haunted house tale. My main caveat, though, comes with the nature of this story's delivery.

Sylvia sets up the entire first-person narrative as an extended flashback told entirely through an e-mail, the modern day literary equivalent of found footage horror. I found it to be a fairly limiting narrative device, and I really wish we could have become privy to what the recipient was experiencing (there's a lot of "I said, you said" accounts) or, better yet, to have been placed in the thick of things as they were occurring rather than being told what had happened so many years removed. While we do get some idea of the e-mail recipient's reactions, as told to us by the writer of said e-mail, the impact is rather muted. It also makes the ending of this novel a bit anticlimactic, but not without resolution. Mostly, I just wanted to get deeper into these characters heads.

Despite Sylvia's narrative choices, I still found myself pretty well engrossed in the ghostly dramas unfolding within the old Kent house, situated in the woods of a small Maine town, and the history of the home itself. It may not be a particularly ground-breaking or revelatory addition to haunted house fiction, but it is really well written and it's quite clear that Sylvia has some impressive authorial chops. I'll definitely be checking out more of her future works, as I think she's got a heck of a lot of potential.

[Note: I received an advanced copy of this title from the publisher via Hook of a Book Media and Publicity.]

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Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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