By: J.R. Klein
Publication Date: June 2017
Reviewed by: Lynette Latzko
Review Date: August 19, 2017
Married couple Michael and Audrey Felton are hardworking professors at a local university in Houston, Texas. Together they decide that they desperately need to get away from their strenuous jobs, and purchasing a house in the country, isolated from the craziness of Houston, but not too far, is just what they want for their much-needed respite. After spending considerable time in search of the perfect place, they are just about to give up when their real estate agent presents them with a house in the small town of Krivac. Despite some initial misgivings, Michael and Audrey purchase the property, known locally as the Ostermann House. Sure, the house is a one hundred and seventeen-year-old fixer upper with a possibly dubious past, but they were hard-pressed to find a farmhouse complete with land, a barn and in a remote location, for such a low price anywhere else.
A month later, the Feltons are happily settling into their new vacation home by keeping themselves busy cleaning, painting and furnishing the place. During the home inspection, a mysterious stone doorway was discovered in the basement, and now Michael, who can no longer stand the suspense of wondering what it is, decides to painstakingly remove the old bits of stone until he is able to slip through to what appears to be a dank, creepy, but basically empty room. On his way out he manages to discover an unusual coin-like object stuck in the dirt floor that has nine flat sides and a few odd symbols on it. To rid himself of the eerie feeling he’s having, he makes a decision to eventually completely knock down the walled-in doorway, and open it up to the entire room.
Time continues to rush by for Michael and Audrey, and except for occasional and odd encounters with the locals, things continue to be positive for them. While Michael appears to sometimes be disturbed by the wildly crazy stories told by these locals relating to the old owners of their home, Audrey simply chalks it up to the locals trying to test the nerves of the newbies in town. However, things start to take a sinister turn for the worse after Audrey leaves Krivac to return to her job in Houston, leaving Michael behind and alone in the house. Words mysteriously appear on computer screens, and objects disappear and reappear in other locations; it all seems as if someone is somehow getting into their house, but security cameras say otherwise. The tension escalates when not only do bizarre things happen outside the home on their property, but the town police officer, Rainey, makes matters worse by telling Michael tales of the crazy happenings of the previous owners, only to deny ever speaking with him, on another day. As time passes, an increasing amount of scary events take place forcing the Feltons to consider selling their home and ridding themselves of the Ostermann property and the whole strange town of Krivac. Unfortunately, their hesitation comes at a considerable price near the end as they are forced to abandon their quest to find out what’s causing all this paranormal activity, and to immediately flee from their vacation home. But will they be successful, or will they be victims of something that is not only greater than themselves, but greater than all humanity?
Author J.R Klein is a master at crafting tales of paranormal suspense. Readers will easily look past the simple and sometimes overused plot, and will become quickly engaged in The Ostermann House for what it really is, a well-written novel that is so creepy you may want to turn on music so as not to scare yourself too much while you’re deeply engrossed in reading this page-turner. The characters, even the strange-acting townspeople, are realistic and likable, and definitely set the tone for a disturbing story that displays an increasing urgency to find out what went on at the Ostermann property years ago, and how it relates to what the current owners are being subjected to. Many scenes unfold at a slow, detailed pace but Klein has the ability to keep readers not only engaged throughout, but craving more.
Readers should be advised that the ending of The Ostermann House may come as not only a shocker, but a disappointing and jarring end to an otherwise great paranormal suspense story. Events and occurrences throughout seem as if they could be a part of real-life situations right up until the ending. If you’re looking for a read that has a predictable and tidy finish, perhaps even leaving readers on a positive note because the characters resolved their conflict, look elsewhere; this is not the book for you. If however, you are a fan of the paranormal who has a passion for the tension and suspense in these type of stories, and enjoys a considerably twisted ending, this book is a must-read.
Quill says: The Ostermann House is a fast-paced ominous tale for fans who love to read a good paranormal suspense that will keep you thoroughly engaged right up until a whammy in the ending.