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Check It Out: Slade House

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In Slade House there is a curious phenomenon taking place: people are disappearing every nine years to the day…  

This is Jessi Wakefield with the Sioux City Public Library and you’re listening to Check It Out. Today I am recommending the delightfully creepy horror story, The Slade House by David Mitchell

Down the street from a local pub, in the heart of a working class London neighborhood, and stuck in a labyrinth of alleys and iron gates sits Slade House. Locals have heard of it, but very few have actually seen it. There is legend, there are rumors, and there are very real missing people. Spanning several decades, from 1979 to 2015, each chapter focuses on a different person or group of people sucked into the strange allure of the inhabitants of Slade House, never to be heard from again.

Mitchell has carefully constructed a connected series of events that gradually become easier to understand while still keeping its mysterious and haunting tone. Although it seems at first like history is simpy repeating itself every nine years, there are threads that tie each episode to the next, and a natural progression in the story line that moves the plot along and kept me tied to this book. Episodes that at first seem somewhat disconnected, if rather repetitive, begin to build on each other. Objects and characters creep in from prior episodes and echo prior appearances.

The novel finishes strong.  The final chapter, being the best of the bunch, concludes the story in a weird and satisfying way that convinced me to read more of Mitchell’s work in the near future.

Slade House resonates with an otherworldly, mysterious aura much like House of Leaves or the Shining Girls, but has the classic gothic horror feel. Not since I read A Turn of the Screw have I been this pleasantly uneasy reading a book.

A powerhouse of fantasy, David Mitchell might be best known for his works Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks. But unlike those heady and hefty books, Slade House is a short, fast read that is sure to give you chills, even in this summer heat. I definitely recommend this to horror, supernatural, and fantasy fans.

Check out Slade House and other works like it at the Sioux City Public Library.

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Support for Check It Out comes from Avery Brothers

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