AUDREY'S DOOR by Sarah Langan (2009 Harper / 412 pp. / mmp)
Langan (author of the excellent, Stoker-winning novel, THE MISSING), pens a haunted house story in the vein of such classics as THE SHINING and THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE. Unfortunately, this one is so similar to Jeffrey Konvitz' classic THE SENTINEL I had a hard time appreciating the fine writing and well-done suspense.
A trouble-infested woman named Audrey leaves her boyfriend and moves into The Breviary, an Upper West Side apartment building that she discovers has a dark history. She's so determined to live on her own that she takes an apartment despite the super's mentioning a woman drowned her four children in its bathtub (yeah--okay!). From here the novel builds some decent tension, and the flashbacks of The Breviary's history are interesting and spooky. But it's the typical by-the-numbers conclusion (that REALLY reminded me of THE SENTINEL) that killed it for me and made me wonder why FANGORIA magazine named this their "Book of the Month" in a recent issue.
AUDREY'S DOOR, while seeking to pay homage to the haunted house genre, offers horror fans nothing new. Aside from a brief comment on modern society (something I think some will find unnecessary to the story), this is purely generic paperback pulp. I'm hoping Langan gets back on the killer track she started with THE KEEPER and THE MISSING.