“THE EMPTY ROOM,” BY SARA CLEMENS
PUBLICATION: OFF THE PAGE PUBLISHING;
JULY 23, 2016
Synopsis: Rain soaked and dreary, it was a 1901 abandoned Victorian that Dean and Elizabeth hoped would fulfill their dreams, even if the town of Eastbrook, Maine was trapped under a blanket of fog. The first neighbor they meet in town dashes those dreams when he raises a bizarre question: what happened to the last person who lived in their house? Under mounting pressure from the residents of Eastbrook to stop questioning the past, Dean and Elizabeth are driven deeper into the history of the house, and the town. When they discover what happened in Eastbrook, keeping the secret could save their lives, but uncovering the truth might be worth the risk.
A gripping psychological mystery, The Empty Room takes readers on a cat-and-mouse game where some secrets are better off hidden.
Holy crap this one was a complete shocker! My immediate thoughts go to Alfred Hitchcock, Edgar Allen Poe, or even The Twilight Zone… Dean and Elizabeth meet when they are both running late to work one day and he nearly runs her over. They marry a few months later and decide to get away from the city life and buy an old Victorian in Eastbrook, Maine. The people of this small town are less than welcoming and they also realize that the previous resident just up and left everything in his home when he disappeared. The house is full of furniture and even has dirty dishes in the sink. Except there is one room on the main floor that is empty and has wallpaper on the walls. Many of the items they decide to keep because, as luck would have it, their moving van with all of their belongings never showed up.
Everyone they meet is rude and when they start asking about the man that lived there before them, some of them even give sketchy warnings saying, “are you sure you want to know?” Especially troubling to Dean is the elderly woman next door, Mrs. Jacobs. She shows up unannounced on the porch, makes odd comments that he doesn’t understand, and gives off an overall cool demeanor. Despite the others in town that suggest they shouldn’t search for clues about the former resident, Dean and Elizabeth continue trying to figure out who lived there before and what happened to them. What is finally discovered is nowhere near anything that I expected would happen!
So this is one of those books that I plan to re-read now that I know the ending.. Probably tonight. I was completely floored by Clemens’ plot twists and turns and can say 100% that I did not see any of the ending coming. It’s hard to go into too much detail in this review because the LAST thing I want to do is give any spoilers. I can say that I loved Dean and Elizabeth and how funny they were. Dean delivers some hilarious one-liners and Elizabeth is just as funny in her actions. They are a wonderful, funny couple in love despite the reality of what’s happening around them. I must say that there were times when I was confused by some of the writing or details, however, once the ending was revealed, it all fell perfectly in place. It wasn’t an issue with the writing, but rather, you figure out everything in the end.
Even more impressive than the novel itself, is this is Sarah Clemens’ debut novel! The ability to weave a suspenseful, mysterious story in this way with so many surprises is outstanding, but especially from a new author. I so look forward to reading more from her in the future, but as previously stated, I absolutely plan on reading this one again. If you are a fan of mystery/suspense/thriller/a little creepy-type novels then this should be put at the top of your TBR list. Cheers to Sarah Clemens for such an amazing, entertaining novel!
You must read this book! Purchase “The Empty Room” on Amazon. It’s only $1.99 and is fabulous!
Learn more about Sarah Clemens by visiting her web page.
*Thanks to Xpresso for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.