Maynard’s House: Herman Raucher
Reviewed By Fiona Dodwell
Let me start by saying I absolutely loved this book: it’s a deliciously creepy, atmospheric tale set in Maine. It follows the story of central character Austin Fletcher, a Vietnam war veteran, who has been left a house in a will from a fellow soldier who died in battle. The house is in a remote, desolate part of land where there is no one around for miles. The landscape is bleak, the weather is cold and unforgiving, and there’s just something eerie about the setting. There are trees that cast no shadow, strange noises and night-time terrors that set our central character’s sanity on edge.
The land on which Austin Fletcher finds himself is full of legend, myth and history, with lots of dark things having happened in the past. Fletcher sets about finding out as much as he can about his home and the land on which it sits – and let’s just say, there’s not much to be happy about for the young man. Considering packing up and leaving, Austin wonders whether to try to face whatever is out there….
I won’t set any spoilers into this review, but suffice to say, this tale is dark and foreboding and strange. I loved being immersed into Austin’s life in the remote cabin in the woods. I really felt like I was there with him, facing against the perils of nature and the supernatural. The author did an amazing job of bringing the scenery to life and making it feel so vivid.
I’m currently reading through some older horror books – mostly from the 60s, 70s and 80s. This particular title is from the 80s and was re-released a short while ago. I have to say, there are moments when you read certain aspects of these older stories and realise it probably would never have been written that way nowadays. There’s one particular storyline in Maynard’s House involving an older man falling in love with a young teenager and there are moments when it feels uncomfortable, but it didn’t stop me enjoying the story as a whole: it’s fiction, it was part of a larger story theme. But I wanted to add this issue in case it was something sensitive to certain readers who might pick up the book.
All in all, I loved it. It had all the right elements: creepy house, creepy landscape, interesting history and authentic characters. I think people who enjoy a good haunted house novel will likely enjoy this title.
Austin Fletcher, a disturbed young Vietnam War vet, is willed a small house deep in the woods of northern Maine. He comes to own it by the generosity of a brother-in-arms―a fellow soldier and confidante, Maynard Whittier, killed in action by a wayward mortar shell.
The rugged landscape of Maine is an intoxicating blend of claustrophobic interiors and endless frozen wastelands.
Little by little, the mysterious force in the house asserts itself until Austin isn’t exactly sure what is in his mind and what is real. And just when our hero’s had enough and is ready to quit the place, a blizzard arrives and the real haunting begins.
Fiona Dodwell has been writing fiction for almost 10 years, with several horror/paranormal titles released under various publishers. Alongside this, she is a freelance writer for various websites and magazines. She has written features for Warner Music, Made In Shoreditch Magazine, Music-news.com and Tremr.
Fiona has studied Psychology, Film Studies, Theology and Health & Social Care.
Her biggest passion is reading dark fiction, as well as creating new stories of her own – the creepier the better!
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