A series of unsettling home invasions pushes a 42-year-old woman to the brink of insanity in this debut paranormal thriller.
Laurel Frost seems to have it all. Her husband, Cameron, is a high-powered defense attorney. And as a couple, they want for nothing: sports cars, a membership at a swanky country club, and a 5,000-square-foot McMansion in the country. But for the past several months, whenever Laurel leaves her home, she returns to find items out of place. In recent weeks, the mysterious intruder has turned bolder, sneaking into the couple’s bedroom in the still of the night. But no matter how many new security cameras, locks, and alarm systems are installed, the trespasser continues to elude detection, leading the police and Laurel’s own family to question her mental health. With the phantom intruder’s visits becoming increasingly violent, Laurel must take matters into her own hands before she loses her sanity and her marriage (“This had become something personal between she and the intruder, and she was going to handle it herself, her way”). This novel plays the field, providing equal parts psychological thriller, murder mystery, and paranormal fiction in one slim volume. Whether building dramatic tension or planting seeds of doubt, Schulden proves to be a more-than-able narrator. Twists and turns—including a grisly string of murders, a personal tragedy, and the introduction of a team of ghost hunters—keep this tale chugging along. But while the moving targets make for an engaging read, the book suffers from a few bumpy transitions. And instead of sprinkling her characters’ back stories throughout the text, the author tends to dole out exposition in chunks. Nonetheless, this novel—though somewhat unpolished—does not disappoint. Mystery aficionados will still find plenty of reasons to dig into Schulden’s multilayered plot.
A ghost-hunting tale that should keep readers guessing until the final page; suspenseful and genre-bending.