by Gene Wolfe

Tor, $14.99, 297 pages

Baxter Dunn is down on his luck; having recently been released from prison for an investment con against his brother and friends, he is living in a run-down motel, watching his money dwindle down to nothing. Baxter is therefore pleasantly surprised when he learns that he has inherited a large house in town. He soon has several strange incidents, though, such as seeing people jump out windows only to completely disappear, and encounters with two brothers, one of which turns violent. The more he investigates, the more Baxter learns of the thin divide between this world and that of the supernatural and realizes that he may not be so lucky after all.

With The Sorcerer’s House, Gene Wolfe has created a tale of secrets, supernatural and familial. His use of letters from Baxter to his family and friends works surprisingly well in the story and gives the reader a good picture of Baxter. In addition, this format lets the reader feel the confusion and fear Baxter has as he uncovers more secrets of the house and of his own family. The story does lag in parts but is generally an entertaining novel that fans of fantasy will enjoy.

Reviewed by Barbara Cothern