The demolition of an old London house reveals dozens of skeletons, some dating back decades.
Young estate agent John knows something is wrong from his first day on the job at Blight, Simpson, and Vane. Co-workers Lucy, Liam and Courtney seem a bit standoffish, and Mr. Cleat, his supervisor, is a pain. But the most mysterious is old Mr. Vane, who has a “special list” of properties that no one else is allowed to show, much less sell. Poor John, who’d much rather be practicing with his rock band, finds out about the special list the hard way. Left alone in the office, he lends the key to one of the properties to an insistent client. When that client disappears, he goes to the spooky old house to investigate and finds the man’s distinctive wedding ring…and nothing more. What follows is as fast-paced as a good campfire story, and even less plausible. Jolly Liam is the next victim, killed in a truly horrifying fashion that makes real estate seem like the devil’s work. When John and Lucy begin to investigate, they uncover nightmarish pieces of evidence, such as the child’s skull half-buried in a wall, that make this a searing narrative. However, despite his skillful pacing and wonderfully grotesque imagination, Masterton (The Painted Man, 2008, etc.) trips over his corpses when it comes to plotting. John’s constant refrain that the police would be no use (“suppose they don’t believe me?”) makes some sense. But it stretches credibility when the young people completely ignore an obvious talisman, even after Lucy’s wise Uncle Robin specifically points out its use. And the author blunts the impact of a truly dramatic climax by following it with an unlikely resurrection, bringing this chilling, if rather improbable tale to a disappointing close.
Silly fun for readers seeking a quick horror boost.