No Doors, No Windows: A Novel
by Joe Schreiber
Cover Artist: Jae Song
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Del Rey Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345510136
Date: 13 October 2009 List Price $14.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Deep in the lonely, cold woods of Milburn, New Hampshire there is a strange mansion called Round House. It has many rooms and many secrets. A young author, Scott Mast, has been drawn there to complete a horror novel that his dead father began writing years ago. Scott discovers a curse that burned the town's theater, killing many, and has tormented his family for generations. A curse that involves the ghost of twelve-year-old Rosemary Carver and her monstrously evil father.
Joe Schreiber's No Doors, No Windows is a genuinely creepy ghost story. There are scenes that actually made me shiver. Of all the haunted house novels that I have read in the past ten years, this is one of the best. An atmospheric Gothic soap opera, this novel has a tremendous amount of drama, tension and suspense that is fueled by supernatural phenomena. Each chapter ends with a cliffhanger that made it nearly impossible for me to lay the novel down until I had discovered the curse of Round House. The same curse that had trapped the novel's characters had also trapped me.
A novel within a novel. A house within a house. Ghosts that transcend time and space to haunt generations of a family. Secret rooms. Buried corpses. Disappearing bodies. Mysterious music coming from behind the walls. Disembodied voices pleading for help. Children in danger. Insane relatives. Schreiber is clever at writing nightmares. He knows what scares us.
Most of the characters in No Doors, No Windows are untrustworthy, shifty, and as cold and unpredictable as the blizzard that ravishes Milburn during the novel's climax. Amidst the populace of substance abusing ex-football players, ex-beauty queens, and other washed out has-beens, there is the main character, Scott Mast, who is sympathetic and admirable as the hero. He is protective of his younger, alcoholic brother Owen and his adorable, five-year-old nephew Henry. However, even his behavior is sometimes irrational. Ever since his mom's death at the Bijou Theatre, he's been taking antidepressant drugs. He ceases to take them upon his arrival in Milburn. He attributes Rosemary's ghost to withdrawal symptoms. In any case, Scott maintains a semblance of moral fortitude which most of the other characters do not.
No Doors, No Windows is highly recommended reading for fans of haunted house novels. It is perfect for Halloween. The enormous Round House, with its maze of corridors and rooms, gave me fond memories of Collinwood on the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. It also reminded me of the haunted Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s classic The Shining where there is a nightmare in every room. Scenes of Rosemary Carver's ghost terrorizing Scott Mast reminded me of the films The Grudge and The Ring.
Other highly suspenseful, supernatural horror novels that Joe Schreiber has written are: Chasing the Dead and Eat the Dark. He has recently written the science fiction horror novel Star Wars: Death Troopers. If you enjoy reading No Doors, No Windows, you may also want to read the following novels in the haunted house genre: John Saul's House of Reckoning, Christopher Ransom's The Birthing House and Pierre Magnan's The Murdered House.