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The Ostermann House
J. R. Klein, author
The plan is simple—buy an old farm house in the country, escape from your busy life in the city. That’s what Michael and Audrey Felton are hoping for when they move into the Ostermann house in rural Krivac, Texas. But everything goes wrong from the beginning. Michael finds a bizarre nine-sided object that is linked to an arcane numerological code. Things in the house disappear or are mysteriously moved from place to place. Someone, something, is getting into the house. Michael elicits the help of Jack Rainey, the local cop. But Rainey plays a game of cat and mouse, doling out misinformation and dire warnings. He tells them that Herman Ostermann had psychokinetic powers, and that the house is a source of powerful energies. Michael learns that the property was the target of intense military investigations during the Cold War, with the hope that the Ostermann secrets might shift the balance of power in the world. Michael’s mental state deteriorates. He and Audrey must get out as fast as possible. Frantically attempting to leave, they are blocked by forces that have a devastating message for all of humanity.
Reviews
Professors Michael and Audrey Felton, the couple at the center of this suspenseful horror thriller from Klein (Frankie Jones), are both burnt-out from their jobs at Houston’s Montclair University and decide to look for a country home. After three months of searching, Michael and Audrey end up buying an old farmhouse outside the small community of Krivac, despite the suspiciously low asking price. Once they move in, Michael has a vision of a bloodied version of a neighbor and hears a voice warning him, “This is the Ostermann house. It belongs to Ostermann. You could have left it the way it was, but you didn’t. Now it’s yours.” The Feltons gradually learn the story of their new home, which includes glowing lights on the property and late-night gatherings of dozens of people. Evidence gradually accumulates to suggest that certain visitors to the house have a rather unique origin. The action builds to a dramatic and surprising resolution. (BookLife)
The US Review of Books

"The room was bathed in the thin evening light that came in through the window, filling it with an eerie glow."

If you’re a fan of thrillers, mysteries, or ghost stories, chances are you’ll be intrigued with this novel that could easily find a home in any of those genres. It weaves its way from one inexplicable situation to another while constantly seeming to have its feet planted squarely on dusty Texas dirt.

The core of the plot initially feels somewhat shopworn. A couple from the city buys a country house with a suspicious reputation and strange things start to happen. Been there, done that, right? Not so fast. The weird goings-on that begin to pile one upon another in this tale can almost be logically explained—until perhaps they can’t—unless you buy into some scientific theories that feel a bit like Einstein meets The X-Files.

In addition to the menacing happenings that build in intensity, and the unfolding intricacies of potential explanations, the author does an excellent job of keeping you involved with the skill of his writing. Characters are drawn sharply and genuinely. Dialogue sounds natural during off-the-cuff banter and realistic when people must suddenly react to bizarre situations. Prose is used deftly as well. One particularly mesmerizing example involves the protagonist surreptitiously following a car until he realizes he’s being stealthily followed by another vehicle at the same time. The scene builds slowly and ominously bringing to mind cinematic equivalents such as Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

As in all tales of this sort, a final dénouement and conclusion must be reached. This particular ending will either leave you aghast, annoyed, disappointed, or delighted. Whatever your response to the ending however, it’s a good bet you will have had a wickedly good time getting there.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review of Books

 

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