The After House, by Michael Phillip Cash, is actually the most recent book in a trilogy that began with Stillwell then continued in The Flip. Although it’s the last in the trilogy, I decided to review it because it’s the most recent — published in 2014.
The After House
Here’s a synopsis (without spoilers, I hope):
Remy Galway and her daughter, Olivia, move into a 300 year old house in Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island after a messy divorce from her cheating husband. Remy’s parents knew her husband, Scott, was bad news, but, after a whirlwind romance that began on the beaches of Cancun during her senior year of college, she was hooked. Nothing they could say would dissuade her.
After graduation, they borrowed heavily from her parents to open a trendy sandwich shop, which did well. So well, they opened several more shops, again borrowing money from her parents. Things didn’t take too long to head south, but long enough that they had Olivia. The business went south along with the marriage.
So, that’s really the backstory. There’s also backstory on a painting in the house — a painting of a gnarly old sea captain who owned the house and lived there with his family in brief moments between cruises in search of whales. It’s during his last cruise that a whale takes down his ship, killing nearly everyone on board, except the Captain and a boy, who survived by using the afterhouse of the ship. Hence the name.
Strange things begin happening in the house, which is being haunted by the Captain, who doesn’t like either of them living there. But, other strange things happen. I won’t spoil it for you by going into more detail, but it’s an exciting journey to discover who’s behind all the mischief and mayhem.
The After House is a nice read that moves along pretty quickly. Cash’s characters are interesting and the story keeps you turning pages. I would have liked to see Olivia and Georgia have a bigger part in the book, but I understand you have to make the cut somewhere.
Although not in my normal genre, which is mostly mystery and thriller, this little paranormal tale is right up the alley for young readers (as it’s a little short for an adult fiction) or those who enjoy the paranormal.
I felt there was a touch too much telling rather than showing going on for my taste. It was also pretty linear — ie. a then b then c — in terms of story development. I prefer a more complex storyline. Although Cash did weave in some romance and a bit of history, which I liked.
That said, I think it’s an enjoyable read and I’d give it 3.75 (out of 5) stars.