Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Book Review: Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island by Michael Philip Cash

Title: Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island
Author: Michael Philip Cash
Publisher: Red Feather Publishing
Date of Publication: 2013
Source: received from author for my honest opinion

Goodreads Summary:
Paul Russo’s wife just died. While trying to get his family’s life back in order, Paul is being tormented by a demon who is holding his wife's spirit hostage on the other side. His fate is intertwined with an old haunted mansion on the north shore of Long Island called Stillwell Manor. Paul must find clues dating back hundreds of years to set his wife's soul free.

My Thoughts:

I'm not one for ghost stories.  Never have been.  In fact, whenever I see any movie trailers for those really terrifying movies, like "Paranormal Activity", I yell for the kids to close their eyes as I wrap my fingers around my face like steel.  

But with Stillwell, I found I didn't feel any of the apprehension I usually get with your typical ghost story book.  Yes, there were eerie parts but at the basis of the plot it is really just a love story.   I found there were some very strong emotions in the story that really cling to you.  The grief I felt for Paul was intense but there was also another emotion that seemed to stay just in the background: hope.  
I found myself really relating to the story from the small details to even the major ones.  Just as Paul and his wife had a hard time conceiving and then having twins, my family went through the exact same thing.  I also experienced the pain and despair you go through having a family member go through the ordeal of a brain tumor.    The intensity that Mr. Cash puts in his writing with the experiences that Paul and his family go through was very touching.  The story was fictional but the emotional pain seemed so real.  
Not only did I feel the pain so strong, but I also felt like Stillwell had this "realness" to it like it should have said Based on true events instead of fiction.  That is some really good storytelling to make it seem so real.  
Another concept I really liked in the story, even though it was such a small detail, was how the chapters were divided.  Each chapter was a day and the main story was told over a week's time.  This added a scary touch to the story.  And helped add to the realness I felt from reading it.  

But the "monkey wrench" idea really threw me for a loop.  I really felt that wording seemed to take away from the suspense or thrill of the story.  I would have liked a more serious explanation than that.  
The ending was so-so for me too.  It wasn't terrible and I understand why the author went that direction but I felt like there was so much of a build up with the crime scene, the legend surrounding the Stillwell history, and even the terrifying dreams that I would have liked a more supernatural twist to the ending. 

However, even with my disagreements I still felt that Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island was a enjoyable read.  It has some great elements in it, including ghosts and romance, that really pulled me in the story until I just had to finish it in one day.  I would recommend Michael Philip Cash to anyone who wants a ghost story without all the gore as well as a paranormal romance that will make you feel right along with the characters.  

Connect with Michael Philip Cash:
Goodreads |Website | Twitter |

Get your own copy:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble |

Note: I don't do halves here but I found myself wanting to do 3 and half for this book.  So this book was definitely between 3 and 4 hearts.
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