Their new home on Frederick Street in Clay Center, Kansas, was supposed to give writer Jonathan David and his husband, clinical psychologist Dr. Eddie Dorman, an opportunity to enjoy married life. Jonathan has just released his first major bestseller, and he hopes to finally escape his traumatic past and find the quiet existence he has always craved. Eddie has taken a job at the Kansas State University psychology department, and they intend to begin anew.
They have barely settled in when the nightmare begins. Noises, disembodied voices, and mysterious apparitions make Jonathan’s life hell. Part of the house has decided to bare its teeth, show its jagged edges, and bring back the worst of Jonathan’s past. At first, Eddie cannot perceive the spectral events and fears for his husband’s sanity. When he’s also affected by the haunting, he’s unsure of what to do but refuses to be beaten.
Together, they seek a way to fight the forces trying to tear them apart. The world is a frightening place, but confronting their fears plunges Jonathan and Eddie into absolute horror.
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 2
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Tropes: Badass Hero
Word Count: 60,000
Setting: Clay Center, Kansas
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Damn, that was an amazing story. It was a ghost story, a love story and a mess-with-your-head-nine-ways-from-Sunday story and I LOVED it.
This book is the perfect melding of a classic ghost story, a true love story and a psychological drama all wrapped up in an incredibly well written package.
Objects in the Rearview Mirror is ultimately a story about fear and what damage fear can do in both this world and the next. There are two stories going on in this book plus the house that brings them together. It starts with a heartbreaking prologue that tells the fate of Alan Pemberly in 1975. That alone had me hooked and the tale of Alan’s aborted homecoming sets up the connection between Alan in 1975 and Jonathan and Eddie in 2013.
Jonathan and Eddie are a married couple who have moved to Clay Center, Kansas to make a fresh start. It was refreshing reading about an established couple who are so obviously committed to each other. There are allusions to troubles in their past, but nothing that most normal couples don’t deal with for the most part. They do have a couple of major issues that set them apart though. Firstly, Jonathan has an incredibly painful past that Eddie, being a licensed clinical psychiatrist, had tried so hard to help Jonathan work through. The fact that Eddie is a mental health professional is a bit of a blessing and a curse. He definitely has helped Jonathan put the pains in the “rearview mirror” but that doesn’t make them go away. Secondly, the house they have moved to seems to have all the classic symptoms of a haunted house. Strange things start happening very subtly at first and the bumps in the night are written so well that the creep factor was perfect.
Turns out the house Jonathan and Eddie have moved into is the same house that Alan Pemberly grew up in. The painful upbringing of both Jonathan and Alan causes an unnatural connection to form between them and this is where the really great psychological drama comes in. Jonathan has been wandering for years, never settling and this is something that has been hanging over his relationship with Eddie for a long time.
“ . . . his lover wasn’t wandering toward something in the hopes of finding new and exciting things; he was wandering away from something that followed him like a shadow attached to his feet, always just a step behind him.”
When the supernatural starts happening at home it’s almost too easy to blame Jonathan’s past and how he deals with it. Being a psychiatrist it’s natural for Eddie to head that direction, Jonathan must be having some sort of breakdown, even though Eddie has witnessed some crazy events himself. Jonathan begins to doubt himself, Eddie begins to doubt himself and the fear of what all this means is driving a wedge between them. Jonathan could only ever show his vulnerability to Eddie and now showing that vulnerability felt like a threat to his sanity. Throughout though, I never doubted their love and commitment to each other and that made the fear more real, I was anxious for them. There were a couple of really painful conversations and damn if those didn’t hurt to read. They were completely realistic though and I think that’s what made the whole paranormal aspect of the story work so well.
The supporting characters really added to the story and next door neighbor, Maggie was a calming force and wealth of knowledge to them both. Jonah was quite the sage who was a later addition to the tale, but his conversation with Jonathan alone is worth a mention. He tells Jonathan,
“I am going to give you some fatherly advice: when this is over, when all this is done, stop looking backward. Life isn’t lived in that direction. Your future isn’t in that direction. It’s forward, out into the horizon ahead of you. Stop clinging to dead things – they’ll drag you down with them and will destroy everything you two have worked so hard to create. You’ve got a man in there that loves you. He’s in the here and now.”
The journey through the rearview mirror has to be read and I don’t want to spoil any of the uber-creepy moments for you. I honestly could not put this down until I knew how the story would resolve and I was really impressed with how it all came together. Heroes were made and happy endings were had, and they didn’t come easy, but man, what a ride.
The epilogue is a very sweet wrap up and gives a nod to the series here which I love because it means the author is planning on more stories. I loved his one too much to be done.