The opening premise of William Patterson’s new novel Dark Homecoming (Kensington Press) will sound familiar to readers and lovers of Gothic Fiction: a moody, secretive (and fabulously wealthy) man and a young naïve woman fall in love in a resort setting, suddenly marry after a whirlwind romance, and then return to the groom’s enormous (and famous) home, which is run by a domineeringly grim housekeeper. After only a day or two together, the husband must go away on business, leaving the young bride to discover the dark secrets of not only the house, but also of the beautiful and sophisticated first wife who died so mysteriously in a storm at sea.
But while Dark Homecoming echoes Rebecca, and maintains the same suspenseful mood, Patterson gives us an updated, American story that stands completely on its own. There are dark forces that roam Patterson’s Huntington House, more sinister than anything that might have lurked at Manderley. (For starters, there is a Haitian Chef who is cooking up more than just dinner.)
Patterson deftly adds supernatural elements, so the novel maintains its psychological thriller edge, but with a deliciously creepy overlay. The twists and turns will keep the reader turning pages until the exciting end, but if you read into the night, you’ll want to make sure to keep the lights on. This reviewer enjoyed Dark Homecoming very much and looks forward to reading more of William Patterson’s novels.
Kelly Saderholm has written, blogged, and lectured about aspects of the mystery novel. She has moderated panels and presented papers at literary conferences, on both the Mystery Novel and Urban Fantasy. She is currently shifting from writing about mystery fiction to writing actual mystery fiction, and is working on a novel, as well as a non-fiction book dealing with Folklore in the American South. She is a recipient of a Kentucky Foundation for Women grant. She lives in South Central Kentucky with her family and two feline office assistants.
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