If the Overlook Hotel had an Alexa, you’d have The Mansion.
The upcoming novel, The Mansion by Ezekiel Boone is the story of Billy Stafford and Shawn Eagle, two computer programmers who created a game changing operating system called Eagle Logic. While they were developing the program they lived in a tiny abandoned shack on the property of the crumbling Eagle Mansion, a property belonging to Shawn’s family that was popular with bootleggers and revelers during prohibition. After a few years of living and working together, Billy gets the girl (Shawn’s girlfriend Alice), but Shawn gets the program and years later is the most famous man in the world while Billy is a recovering alcoholic barely making ends meet.
Shawn decides that the next product his company is going to release is one he and Billy had worked on together, a program called Nellie, a super Siri/Alexis that can control an entire house, not just give you directions or turn on your TV. Nellie is deployed during the massive restoration of Eagle Mansion, the dilapidated old hotel that they lived on the grounds of but the project to turn the mansion into a hotel and tech conference center, with a residence for Shawn, is plagued with accidents and deaths. It soon becomes clear that something isn’t right with Nellie so Shawn is forced to put aside their rivalry (and admit that he’s not as good a programmer as Billy) and bring Billy in to find the ghost in the machine.
When I read the summary of the book I was very excited to read it but a very promising premise dissolves into The Shining lite: old hotel isolated in a snowy setting? Check. Recovering substance abuser caretaker? Check. Creepy twins, kids with some sort of psychic ability? Check and check. This book comes in at over 400 pages and while I enjoyed Boone’s writing style, the story itself takes a very long time to get going. The first 50-60% is full of character development (unfortunately you won’t care about these characters) and doesn’t focus on the haunted house aspect of the story which is what I was looking forward to as a fan of thrillers and horror. When the story does shift to Nellie and what is the cause of all the incidents at Eagle Mansion the plots disintegrates into a love triangle, waving goodbye to any element of horror or suspense that the author was building at the beginning of the book. Skip this book and ask Siri or Alexa to recommend another.
The Mansion will be released on December 4th, 2018 by Atria. I was given an advance copy of this book by Netgalley and the publisher for an honest review.
If you do decide that you want to check into Eagle Mansion the book is available for pre order here.