Published by Ballantine Books on April 14, 2015
Genres: Horror, Mystery
Format: ARC, Kindle Edition
Source: Review Copy
Ben and Caroline Tierney and their two young boys are hoping to start over. Ben has hit a dead end with his new novel, Caroline has lost her banking job, and eight-year-old Charlie is being bullied at his Manhattan school.
When Ben inherits land in the village of Swannhaven, in a remote corner of upstate New York, the Tierneys believe it’s just the break they need, and they leave behind all they know to restore a sprawling estate. But as Ben uncovers Swannhaven’s chilling secrets and Charlie ventures deeper into the surrounding forest, strange things begin to happen. The Tierneys realize that their new home isn’t the fresh start they needed . . . and that the village’s haunting saga is far from over.
Brendan Duffy’s House of Echoes is a chilling and fantastic start for a debut novel. Duffy combines just the right amount of drama and Stephen King-style horror to make the novel a page-turner with an exciting end. I felt chills reading sections, both from nerves and disgust, that stuck with me for quite a while, and it’s all because Duffy knows just when and where to reveal little hints about the town of Swannhaven and its inhabitants that will leave you wide-eyed and wanting more.
The novel’s story is told through different character point of views, adding various levels of distress, intrigue and mystery that a singular character could never do. The sections that are told from the point of view of Charlie, the 8-year-old son of our main protagonist Ben Tierney, are often the darkest and most distressing, bleeding together a mix of naive innocence and darker intent that can only come from a child. They happened to be my favorite.
One downfall to House of Echoes is its slow beginning. The Tierneys are hard to get to know as a family, the are often times unlikeable, and their back story is an unnecessary mystery. Intermingled into the slow start are a few points of interest, but the story really doesn’t pick up until the Tierneys have been established members of Swannhaven for a length of time. Trudging through the beginning is worth the end, however.
I’d definitely pick a copy of Duffy’s House of Echoes when it’s released on April 15, if I were you!