Book Review: Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island by Michael Phillip Cash

18106337Title: Stillwell

Author: Michael Phillip Cash

Genre: Horror, Ghosts, Dark Fiction, Paranormal Mystery

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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.

Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island is by far my favorite book by author Michael Phillip Cash so far. The story is less straightforward than “The Flip” and “The Hanging Tree”, two other scary stories by aforementioned author. Stillwell is about more than a ghost story. It’s about memories, about letting go, about suffering and pain, and about a love that transcendents time and death. The writing is a touch better than in the previous books I read by said author, and the characters are more developed. Especially main character Paul had a lot of different layers, and by the end, I felt like I really got to know him.

Stillwell is a haunted well near a gothic mansion. I liked how, for once, it was the well that was haunted, not the mansion itself. I enjoyed how the book left it in the middle whether Paul was imagining things, due to mental anguish over losing his wife, or if something paranormal was really happening. The reader was left in the dark about this for the largest part of the novel.

What could be better, was the horror. There is nothing truly scary about the mansion, and all the scares go by too fast. There’s little suspense or build up, and while the mansion seems atmospheric, that atmosphere isn’t portrayed in the writing. The pacing is fast, sometimes too fast to make the book scary.

I enjoyed the story though, and it was a pleasant read. For a true horror fan, it might focus  slightly too much on the love story instead of the horror story, but I didn’t mind.

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