NO DOORS, NO WINDOWS by Joe Schreiber


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More New England horror and madness tied to sadistic events in the past from Schreiber (Chasing the Dead, 2006, etc.).

When Seattle-based greeting-card writer and frustrated novelist Scott Mast returns for his father's funeral to small-town Milburn, N.H., where he grew up—and where his mother and great-uncle Butch died in a movie-theater fire 15 years ago—he discovers his brother Owen and five-year-old nephew Henry already in possession of the family house. In a ramshackle old shed, Scott finds a short, unfinished manuscript written by his father, evidently a horror story. Having come across the location where the story is set, the aptly named Round House—there are no sharp angles or edges anywhere—Scott impulsively rents the empty house with the intention of finishing the script. Meanwhile he tries to handle drunk, shiftless Owen by taking young Henry under his wing. He meets up with old flame Sonia Graham and, accidentally it seems, goes off his anti-depression/anxiety meds. The house itself is frigid, the writing goes nowhere and, while attempting to research old town records and legends, Scott becomes reacquainted with other denizens of the town, such as rich drunk Colette McGuire and her philandering ex-NFL husband Red Fontana. He also unearths hints of horrific goings-on in the 1880s and perhaps more recently. Suddenly Scott finds the ability to write and continue his father's story; coincidentally, perhaps, the long-delayed demolition of the site where his mother died begins. Owen rouses himself to take a job there, but what does he hope to find in the ashes? Further revelations about the Mast family past emerge, each less pleasant that the last. Scott begins to hallucinate. And young Henry wanders off in a snowstorm.

Workmanlike and agreeably absorbing, though lacking genuine thrills or chills.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-345-51013-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2009