William Peter Blatty (he of THE EXORCIST fame) and Cemetery Dance have teamed up to publish ELSEWHERE, a modern haunted house tale. The story centers around Joan Freeboard, a real estate agent who has been asked to sell a house that is purported to be haunted. Looking for a way to debunk the myths surrounding the mansion, she comes up with an elaborate plan – she hires an expert on hauntings, a psychic, and an author, all of whom will stay in the house with her and document their findings.

ELSEWHERE is “quiet” in that there is little action or suspense; rather, Blatty masterfully uses mood and slowly building tension to drive the story forward. The characterization is well done – everyone is fully realized, complete with backstories, unique personalities, etc. The conversation between the characters is laced with dark humor, some of which is quite witty while other spots completely fall flat.

The format of the book is slightly different from other releases by Cemetery Dance. The dimensions are a little bit smaller than those of the Novella Series CD publishes. The novel is also pretty short (220 pages) with larger font and margins, so you can easily tear through it in a couple of hours.

One word of warning: ELSEWHERE was originally published in Al Sarrantonio’s 999 anthology. I pulled my copy of that book, and it doesn’t appear there is any new material in the version CD is publishing. If you’ve already read 999, you may want to take a pass on ELSEWHERE (although the standalone text with Alex McVey’s interior artwork sure is sharp).

The book was a quick read with plenty of good scenes, but had other spots that brought it down (mainly some spotty dialogue throughout). I’d say it’s worth at least a 7 out of 10, and is a worthwhile read for haunted house fans.

Cemetery Dance has a couple versions of ELSEWHERE available, including an unsigned $25 trade hardcover and a $75 signed/slipcased edition.

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