By John Quick
To be upfront, I am generally not a fan of haunted house stories. As such, it’s hard to please me in this subgenre.
The Corruption of Alston House took a while to build for me. You get about half way through the book before anything really happens (beyond Katherine renovating the house and sleep-painting). Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, so long as the lives and characters being followed were of interest. I’m a sucker for drama, after all. However, Katherine and her relationships with Bradley and Frank didn’t do much to get my attention. Katherine, herself, wasn’t a character I felt any attachment to, and I particularly disliked how easily she moved on from the tragic event that ended her marriage. I know everyone handles death differently, but I never felt like she was all that burdened by the tremendous loss she suffered. Had I been her, I would have likely become an alcoholic determined to kill myself. But I ran with Katherine, nevertheless, to see how she handled things. Unfortunately, even when things started happening around the house, her character never clicked with me.
Once the hauntings really kicked in, there were several interesting moments (like Leslie’s horrific “dream” sequence). However, I have a problem when books give you that scene in which the bad guy has to explain everything you haven’t yet been revealed, in one, long speech at gunpoint. That happens here. I understand the difficulty in fitting in secrets naturally through a story, but this scene was particularly heavy with background explanation. And despite it, I still had questions about other things that happened during the story (like details of the wall, which seemed sparse). The final battle was also a letdown after the standoff escalated; it felt surprisingly easy to crush the haunting in Alston House.
Seeing as The Corruption of Alston House was my first time reading John Quick, I can’t be certain this story was enough for me to pursue the author any further. But I also know hauntings aren’t my forte, so I will likely try my luck with something else he’s written outside of the subgenre, just in case. The writing wasn’t an issue, after all. I just didn’t feel like there was enough excitement for the ride, or a climax worthy of the slow build.
Review by Aiden Merchant
I received a copy of this book from Silver Shamrock Publishing for review consideration.