My introduction to Alan Spencer’s works was with “B-Movie War” which I enjoyed. While that novel was a B-movie, monster story, Spencer’s upcoming novel, “The Doorway,” promised to be more of a classic horror novel and I was curious to see what Spencer would do with a more traditional tale.
Morty Saggs loved his wife. They had been together for what had seemed forever and had not grown tired of each other. They understood each other in ways that no one else could so it was not a big deal for Morty to stay out drinking with his friends until the wee hours of the morning. That is exactly what he did that one fateful night. He was surprised when he arrived home to find that all of the lights were still on. Even more shocking was that his wife was missing. There was no clue except the burnt outline of a door in his bedroom that quickly disappeared. Morty’s life, and perhaps his sanity, was forever shattered.
As the investigation of his wife’s disappearance drags on and Morty becomes the prime suspect, he begins to suspect that the supernatural is involved in the disappearance. Morty has no knowledge of the house’s secret past that allowed him to but it at well below market value. This is no ordinary house and the sins of its past are ready to burst into the present. There is an evil force at play that is maneuvering the pieces into the place, biding its time to strike. That time is now and no one may make it out of the house alive.
I was expecting “The Doorway” to hit me like a hammer but the book actually starts off a little slowly. I was a bit perplexed as it seemed to be shaping into more of a police procedural than the horror novel that I was expecting. All was well, however, as Spencer soon proved that the novel has teeth and one the hits start they do not stop until the end. The novel kicks into gear and becomes a horror novel with a bit of an extreme flavor to it as the violence is almost non-stop through the second half of the novel and there is a fair amount of blood and gore involved. Spencer never crosses the line to the gratuitous, though, and the action and violence serves to further the story. The reader should be cautioned that this is not a story for the meek of heart as this is definitely not a novel that readers of only mainstream horror are accustomed to. It is, however, a very good novel and one that deserves to be read by as many people as possible.
“The Doorway” is not a perfect book but it is easily forgiven for its warts because it is so entertaining. Spencer just keeps the story rocketing along so that the holes in the plot are quickly passed by and the reader is too busy keeping up to stop and think about any errors or shortcomings. The slow buildup at the beginning of the story does set the stage for later and also allows the story to have a bit more punch by fully developing a couple of the characters for the reader relate to as the story progresses and helps keep the revenge twist that comes in the novel work more effectively. The doorway is just good, bloody, scary fun that makes me wonder why I never bumped into Spencer’s works in the past. If you are looking for a rollercoaster ride of a horror tale, do not hesitate to give this book a try. You will be happy that you did.
I would like to thank Samhain Publishing and NetGalley for this advance review copy. “The Doorway” is scheduled to be released in August.