Book #34: Berkley Street by Ron Ripley

Shane Ryan returns to Nashua and the childhood memories that drove him to join the Marines. After a prolonged legal battle with his aunt and uncle, Shane has possession of the family home where his parents disappeared over 20 years ago. The house, a monstrous castle filled with ghosts and secrets, is more alive than its inhabitants.

When his aunt and uncle come to town, then vanish, Shane’s life takes a turn for the worse. Detective Marie Lafontaine immediately labels Shane as the prime suspect. And in a race against time, Shane desperately searches for clues about his parents.

But there’s something lurking beyond the walls and beneath the surface. Something sinister that has haunted him ever since he saw its face in the pond behind the house. And it isn’t happy that Shane is back.

It isn’t happy at all.

Berkley Street isn’t the first Ron Ripley book I’ve read, but it is the first audiobook by him that I’ve listened. Ron Ripley is a horror author and his books tend to be novella short. That doesn’t mean that they lack in content.

The first book I read by Ron Ripley was interesting enough for me, but it lacked more of the horror element that Berkley Street had. The first thing that came to mind with this book is Stephen King. If you’ve read Stephen King then you can get what I’m thinking. If you haven’t, go do that (I suggest Carrie, Salem’s Lot, The Green Mile, and The Shining personally).

 Berkley Street is about a haunted house and the man who has been haunted by it in childhood and into adulthood. His parents went missing before the events of the book and he sets it upon himself to find them; be they dead or alive.

It is this haunted house that made me think of Stephen King. Think the Rose Red mini-series. The house has a lot of spirits and all of them are being held down for one reason or another. There is a dark history involved with the house that is similar to the Winchester Mystery House (a building being built on over and over again). Another strange King aspect is that the house has floors that don’t exist and a plot of land inside said floors. That weird stuff reminds me of King.

That said, Ripley makes the haunted house motif his own. I liked the main characters and the ghosts were terrifying in their own way. There isn’t a chapter that isn’t dealing with Shane’s personal investigation or past Shane’s experiences with the spiritual residents. The story is weaved in different time periods that makes you wonder what is going to happen or what certain events mean. I was pulled into the story.

What’s great is that this is the first book in a series. That means, if I feel up to it, I could listen to the second book. Or I could just relax at having read this one. This book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger. You are given everything up to the end and that is all. It can be a standalone horror or the beginning of a new adventure.

In all, I really liked this book. It fed into my dark mind and kept it alive for a few moments. I think I will be reading the second book sometime in the future. Right now, I’ll stick with my current list. But, I’m definitely thinking about it.

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