After two years of living on cheap beer and little else in a bitterly cold tiny cabin outside an abandoned, crumbling mansion, young programmers Shawn Eagle and Billy Stafford have created something that could make them rich: a revolutionary computer they name Eagle Logic.
But the hard work and escalating tension have not been kind to their once solid friendship—Shawn’s girlfriend Emily has left him for Billy, and a third partner has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. While Billy walks away with Emily, Shawn takes Eagle Logic, which he uses to build a multi-billion-dollar company that eventually outshines Apple, Google, and Microsoft combined.
Years later, Billy is a failure, beset by poverty and addiction, and Shawn is the most famous man in the world. Unable to let the past be forgotten, Shawn decides to resurrect his and Billy’s biggest failure: a next-generation computer program named Nellie that can control a house’s every function. He decides to set it up in the abandoned mansion they worked near all those years ago. But something about Nellie isn’t right—and the reconstruction of the mansion is plagued by accidental deaths. Shawn is forced to bring Billy back, despite their longstanding mutual hatred, to discover and destroy the evil that lurks in the source code.
The Mansion is a tale stricken with ghosts of the past–but not the sort that haunt. Rather, in this novel by Ezekiel Boone, much of the elements that one might describe as horrific simply don’t exist. If you’re picking up The Mansion to find out what goes wrong in an automated house, I’d suggest Dean Koontz’s Demon Seed instead because this story crawls at a dreadfully slow pace.
The story centers around a rather messy love triangle. One girl, two guys, they both want her, and beyond that there’s little use for her character in the story. Much of the book’s plot consists of exposition, exposition, and even more exposition. You’ll learn all the faults and flaws of the characters, you’ll learn their childhood histories, you’ll hear their sob stories. It’s not until the final ten percent of the book that you’ll actually get a chance to see some action, and even then it’s still rather tame by horror standards. Amongst all this exposition, we learn of the wedge driven between Billy and Shawn, as well as a mysterious third person, Takata, whose whereabouts are unknown. Despite playing somewhat of a role in the book, he’s mostly an unnecessary character.
Speaking of characters, The Mansion has a rather small roster of them, and they’re all traumatized. With the exception of one, and she’s objectified. Billy has an addiction problem. Shawn is a pretentious nitwit that thinks the entire world revolves around him. Emily is simply there to fuel a fire between these two masculine characters who have devalued themselves to the point that now, years and years later on down the road, are still fighting over the same girl–and no one asks her what she wants at any point in the story. Poor Emily. There’s also the twins. They’re creepy. Really creepy. And no one seems to acknowledge that? Hello, realism?
Development. That’s an important part of a book, and The Mansion severely lacks it. There’s no development in the plot for 90% of the book. There’s absolutely no character development for Wendy, who is described as a black woman that looks like she walked out of a Victoria’s Secret magazine (or something along those lines). In fact, poor Wendy gets the short end of the stick all around. She’s the oddball out in this little teenaged drama hissy fit.
The Mansion simply falls horribly flat all around. The writing style was good, and it wasn’t so awful that I could’t complete reading the book, but it’s definitely not a title I’d recommend to a horror fan. A romance-thriller sort? Maybe. But not horror.
I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.