Doppelgänger by Sean Munger

Doppelgänger by Sean Munger
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery, Horror
Length: Full Length (208 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Thistledown

The house of madness!

Transplanted from her native Sweden to the drawing rooms and gas-lit parlors of Gilded Age New York, Anine Atherton will want for nothing in the lavish row house her rich new husband bought for her. But Anine’s house doesn’t seem to like people. The caretaker hangs himself in the entryway. The maid drops dead her first day on the job. Anine herself is becoming anxious and terrified, and not just because of the ghostly laughter she hears in the middle of the night. Her gentle, charming husband is slowly turning into a domineering brute. And whatever shadowy entity lives in her house, it can read Anine’s mind and use her darkest secrets against her. The last woman to live in the house went insane. Will Anine be next in line?

A house that madness built…

Anine Atherton marries a wealthy American and he whisks her off to New York in The Gilded Age. She will want for nothing. Money is no object but when the couple arrives at their newly purchased home they discover something is terribly amiss. The caretaker hired to spruce up the house is found dead and hanging from the stairs, leaving nothing behind save a cryptic diary filled with nonsensical gibberish and self-incriminating information. What drove him to suicide and what is the terrible history of this cursed house?

Their first night there at their new home, Anine is uneasy and thinks she hears movement and laughter coming from the hall outside her room. The next morning another servant turns up dead and thus begins a descent into madness. Every sound is suspect. No servant will apply for the vacant positions until a negro woman takes a chance, much to the anger of Anine’s husband. He begins to change in violent and negative ways and little by little her perfect new world begins to crumble all around her. Snubbed by polite society without a reason why, she despairs of ever fitting in. Her house, she is certain, is haunted and there is not a moment’s peace to be had.

When Anine learns how her husband acquired the house she is mortified. She begins to take steps to counter the growing aggression in the man she thought she loved and attempts to get him to sell the house back to the original owner with some unforeseen consequences that will rock her world to the core.

This book was a page turner from the first. From the ghost story in Sweden to the haunted New York property, author Sean Munger does an amazing job of capturing the feeling of the time and the characters. The psychological aspects of the story were amazing. What is a dooplegänger and what does it have to do with the Athertons? You must read on and see for yourself.

If you love horror with a touch of the past, then this is the bedtime story for you. I just wouldn’t recommend turning out the light.

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