The Drake family mansion in Shadows Bend, Iowa is haunted … or so it is reported. Seventy-five years ago, the family completely disappeared. The two police officers investigating their disappearance at the time “suffered unusual, yet separate, accidents and perished in the mansion within hours of one another.” After other bizarre deaths, it was decided to call off the search and seal the manor for 100 years. But, now after 75 years, it has caught the attention of a reality TV show; they will provide a live feed of its reopening. They’ve located five brave people who have agreed to spend one night in the house: Madam Galva La Claire, career psychic; Baxter ‘Ax’ Cruz, professional paranormal investigator; Audrey Donahue, model and star of several popular cult horror films; Harlan Holt, Anthropology Ph.D. student; and Genevieve Freeman, a local woman and a Pre-Med graduate. One Million dollars will be the prize split between the participants who remain within the house for the entire night.
As some background, Vinton Drake had attended a magic show of one Malvern Kamrar, “Master of Shadows.” Drake had become entirely consumed with Malvern’s bizarre magic. He’d begun a journal recounting details of Malvern, as well as what he subsequently discovered about the man. Malvern’s shows were often called “Death Shows.”
I loved the format with which the author unveiled the details of the people past tense as well as present day – the TV host and the people who agreed to stay in the house. I almost felt like I could snoop through this old creaky mansion with the guests. I think I was at least as surprised as they were by their discoveries. The primary protagonists were Harlan and Genevieve (Vieve). The past was told by Vinton’s journals and the word of mouth stories supplied by Vieve. Not overly scary; just a good old-fashioned haunted house story. Rating: 4 out of 5.