Floating Staircase by Ronald Malfi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A tremendously involving and multi-layered novel of horror, suspense, haunting, character, emotion, sibling rivalry, marriage and family, and so much more, “Floating Staircase” proves that Literary Horror works-and finely tunes this sub-genre into a champion fright.
“Floating Staircase” is thematic as well, and operates on many layers of theme (perhaps I should write instead, “on many stairs of theme”). Travis Glasgow is a haunted novelist: haunted within, by the tragic demise of his younger brother at age ten, when Travis was thirteen; haunted without, in the “new” older home which his older brother Adam arranged for Travis and his wife to purchase in a tiny town in rural Maryland, Westlake, so that Travis and Jodie might return from life in North London. Travis is haunted by memories of his late younger brother, Kyle; by the childhood fear never ended of Kyle’s return from the river; by his incomplete relationship with older brother Adam. For Travis Glasgow, authorship is catharsis, and each of his four novels have had themes of drowning or of drowned apparitions, and each has a water signification in its title.
But moving to a new home (On “Waterview Court”) presents Travis and Jodie with all new challenges: the house is almost hidden in the pines, and looks out upon a self-enclosed lake, in which stands what appears to be a floating staircase, very attractive in the summers to neighborhood daredevils. The house, formerly owned by a long-lived man named Bernard Dentman, is also, quite literally, haunted-very much so; and Travis has just the type of personality to both attract hauntings, and to be aware of such.
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