Review: Slade House by David Mitchell

Keep your eyes peeled for a small black iron door.

Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. Every nine years, the house’s residents—an odd brother and sister—extend a unique invitation to someone who’s different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it’s already too late. . . .

Spanning five decades, from the last days of the 1970s to the present, leaping genres, and barreling toward an astonishing conclusion, this intricately woven novel will pull you into a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story—as only David Mitchell could imagine it.

Slade House by David Mitchell. Audiobook was narrated by Thomas Judd and Tinia Rodrigues. My copy is from the library, published by Heavy Entertainment, 2015. 6 disc with a total of 7 hours running time. Read this as the May group read book on the Goodreads group Horror Aficionados.

I had never read anything by David Mitchell before, but I knew of him and some of his books. I also knew of his reputation of having long and winding roads his stories normally traveled. I had never heard of Slade House before and the plot blurb was a little vague. I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I checked this audiobook out from the library.

Slade House was a fairly quick read. I finished it in early May, but it’s taken me a while to write out the review. I just don’t know what to think about this story. It took me a while to figure out if I liked this book or not.

The plot spans several decades and the way that is written… it feels like a bunch of small stories stuck together to build a full story from. And I don’t think I really liked that. :/ Each decade has it’s own victim’s tale. I understand why it was set up this way. I just didn’t like it. It felt too much of a repeat with each victims story. Yes, some things were different, like how they were lured in to the house, but ultimately, it was the same thing. Person is lured to the house. The house tricks them. The house keeps them. They turn in to ghosts. Repeat. Don’t get me wrong… the idea for what all was going on with the house was very creativity and interesting. I just wish it hadn’t spanned all those short story decades. I think I would have liked it better if it just started off with the last person that was a victim, and we learned the back story through interviews, ghosts, and tours of the house, instead of all those small tidbit stories of the last 5 victims.

It was an interesting world that David built, I’ll give him that. I was very curious about some of the background stuff that was mentioned. He made it sound like a whole hidden community, from all over the world, that does the same thing the Slade house does. It sounded like the people who run the house had outside help from minions or henchmen or something. The author also talked about things falling through the cracks. It sounded like there were people out there who explored places like Slade house without getting killed. All of these examples are the things I would have liked to have seen the author explore and explain a little bit more.

Slade House was an OK story. I think the premise was really fascinating, but I just couldn’t get behind how the story was written. I’m glad I gave it a try. I don’t regret reading it at all, but I don’t think I’ll pick up another book by this author any time soon.


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