Publisher: MLR Press
Date published: February 12, 2012
M/M Erotic Romance/Gothic Suspense/Mystery
Reviewed by Lynne
Obtained via publisher
Scott Evans has inherited an elegant mansion, China House, where he was born and which sits high upon a hill in the New England town of Salem. He lives with his lover, Michael Armstrong, who is too handsome for his own good.
Twenty years ago, a tragedy happened at China House that still haunts Scott, although his memories of that fateful day are still vague. So, with the help of Michael, they enlist the aid of renowned psychologist, Howard Roth, who specializes in the supernatural, and his son, Ken, a well-known writer, in the hope that they will help uncover the reasons for the strange goings-on at China House.
At a Halloween party, Scott and Michael invite Dr. Roth, his assistant, Alice Miller, and Ken to spend a week at China House, to see for themselves what may be occurring there and, hopefully, explain why. But what they soon discover is that anything can happen at China House, be it murder, or romance, or something truly unexplainable.
When things start going bump-in-the-night and everyone starts seeing haunting figures of Scott’s dead brother walking around in broad daylight, everyone is confused and panicking.
Later, believing that China House is the actual root cause of all that is happening, as the plot thickens and too many weird things begin wreaking havoc with everyone’s psyches and emotions, it isn’t long before all of them want to leave China House...and to never look back.
CHINA HOUSE by Vincent Lardo is a gem. Superbly written, it has all the suspense, spice, and mystery one would enjoy in a book of this nature. A definite page-turner, the reader is quickly sucked in to the mysteries associated with China House and kept on the edge of his seat as Lardo unravels tidbits and clues that leave the reader eager to know more about the history of China House and of what is happening inside its silent walls.
The characters are extremely likeable, and the levels of spice tastefully done so as not to take away from the suspense inherent throughout CHINA HOUSE. I enjoyed the tension and conflicting emotions between Dr. Roth and his son, and between some of the other characters in CHINA HOUSE. To say more about them would be to reveal too much of the story and it is always more fun and surprising to read and make discoveries for oneself.
CHINA HOUSE is one of those great books that keep you guessing right up until the end. I’ll admit I never figured out whodunit, although I had my suspicions, up until that point. That, in my opinion, is the mark of a great writer, when no one can figure out the ending until it happens.
CHINA HOUSE is full of unique twists and turns that keep the plot interesting and fresh, something Lardo does quite skillfully. I would, however, have liked to have learned more about the Chinese girls that disappeared years before and about who may have been buried in the cemetery next to China House, but these loose ends didn’t take away from the overall story line of CHINA HOUSE. It only added to its mystery.
If one is looking for a good mystery novel that will pique his interest and hold him spellbound until the very end, then I believe CHINA HOUSE is that novel. Lardo is a wonderful mystery writer whose work is not to be missed.
I really enjoyed CHINA HOUSE and give it five stars. As a person who rarely reads mysteries or Gothic suspense novels, I find myself looking forward to reading more by this author. His talent is unquestionable.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.