Everyone has skeletons in their closet waiting to jump out at any moment if a memory is suddenly triggered, but what if there was a building that fed off those traumatic memories? Even worse, what if the building could show its victims the moments in life they’ve tried hardest to suppress right before it killed them? The Eaton, written by first time novelist John K. Addis, is a gripping horror story that follows six people on the worst day of their lives. Sam Spicer, a young man who’s got everything going for him, finally saves up to buy the old railroad depot in Eaton Rapids in the hopes of turning it into a swag new bar. When he and his crew find a twelve-story hotel underneath the depot, Sam thinks he’s won the jackpot – but has he really? What horrors lie in the shadows of this forgotten hotel, and will Sam and his friends realize their faults before it’s too late?
For any fan of the horror genre, The Eaton will be right up their alley. Addis pens plenty of suspense, gore, disturbing imagery, and edge-of-your-seat tension throughout the entire text. This book is reminiscent of Stephen King’s The Shining at times, emphasizing the horror of a building that can bring terrors to life. As the story progresses, however, readers will realize there is more to the building’s sinister nature – so much more. The book, as a whole, is inviting, intriguing, and worth investing in – all the necessary signs of a good read.
The only downside is that the cast is a bit predictable: the cocky, cheating boyfriend; The tough girlfriend; the “slutty” best friend; the older, emotional woman; the cryptic old man; the black friend who, unfortunately, does not stray from the trope given to black people in the horror genre. These characters feel a bit forced at the get go. They’re likable enough, especially Vaughn, but are all lacking in spontaneity and surprise. Addis also tends to overload his readers with an abundance of backstory for each character. With every decision made, a story or anecdote is given, and while it’s always nice to have fully fleshed out characters in a novel, sometimes it can feel a bit much.
That being said, as the story progresses and tensions rise, readers cannot help but begin rooting for all six of the characters to make it out of The Eaton in one piece. Though these are not characters that stay with readers once the book is done, there is enough going on in the story surrounding them to make them of interest. Plus, Addis manages to create independent, smart female characters, not something you see every day in a horror novel.
Where The Eaton goes above and beyond, really, is in the flashback chapters. Without giving away any spoilers, about halfway through the novel the author allows his audience to go back in time to when The Eaton first opened its doors. Readers are given a peak of what the hotel was like upon its opening date, and can pick out the parallels with the modern timeline. These chapters are some of the highlights of the entire novel.
A heads up: this book does contain profanity, mentions of rape and assault, violent and detailed deaths, disturbing imagery, animal abuse, and body mutilation. This book is clearly not for everyone, so be wary. However, for those avid fans of the horror genre, The Eaton is a must read and should be snatched up soon – before it’s too late.
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