Review: Slade House
David Mitchell, best known for Cloud Atlas, can be a difficult writer to appreciate. In the same book, he often hops from genre to genre: crime, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, you name it. With books like Thousand Autumns, you think you’re reading historical fiction, but then it turns out that there’s a supernatural component, which then ties into his larger fictional universe. In many of his novels, there’s a lot to unpack before you get to the payoff.
With Slade House, Mitchell delivers something much simpler: a straightforward horror story. And this one really packs a punch. It’s a tale of a haunted house that is also a feeding ground—and those who enter are the food. While Slade House very explicitly ties into the story told in his previous novel, The Bone Clocks, this isn’t a sequel. It’s more of a brief, optional detour during the larger epic Mitchell appears to be weaving.
Through a set of short sequences set years apart from each other, Mitchell manages to really drive the horror of Slade House home in a way that I can only describe as “gut-wrenching”. Don’t expect too much from this short book—think of it more like one of Stephen King’s better horror novellas. This is no Cloud Atlas, nor does it pretend to be; nonetheless, I found it well worth the quick read. 4 out of 5 stars.