"The Corruption of Alston House" Book Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Published by Silver Shamrock Publishing
Written by John Quick
2019, 331 pages, Fiction
Released on December 9th, 2019
After a tragedy in her life leads to a bitter breakup with her asshole husband, Katherine buys a house sight unseen (outside of pictures) in the middle of nowhere, Tennessee. As it goes, the house has quite the history. Soon after she moves in, bad things start to happen. However, Katherine is no pushover and she won’t let the evil that resides in her new home to take over without a fight.
I’ve been struggling with how to start this review for John Quick’s novel, The Corruption of Alston House, since I finished it a week ago. My frustration lies in how to properly get the words out for a book that I like but at the same time has some issues that take away from my really liking it. At the end of the day, I just decided to just start spitting out my thoughts and see what happened. You ready?
First, I’m just going to get out what somewhat took me out of the book because I don’t want to end this review with negativity. The Corruption of Alston House doesn’t deserve that because overall it’s an enjoyable read. However, it’s hindered by its length. Like a good movie that’s just too long, the book is a bit too fatty for its own good. Don’t get me wrong, I love a meaty novel. Stephen King’s novels, The Stand and IT are, hands down, two of my favorite books of all time regardless of genre and both of those are over a thousand pages. It’s not the page count, but rather the pages where nothing happens. Things like Katherine just walking around her house and adjusting the heat or exploring the place. It becomes a little tedious. What makes it slightly more frustrating is the things I do want to know about aren’t fully explored. For example, she’s an artist and her painting plays a part in her ordeal with the demons she’s fighting, but it’s never developed completely. It’s put out there, but almost forgotten about. I would have loved for these crazy paintings she’s doing while in a fugue state to have more play.
The other thing that bothered me when reading is the ending and how things wrap up. I’m not even going to touch upon what happens because no matter what I say will be spoilerific, but I do feel cheated somewhat. It’s funny because as I saw what was happening, I thought, “Wait a minute, you can’t do that.” And as I was thinking that, Katherine’s character was saying about the same thing, so I’ll give credit to Quick for acknowledging it. However, it still bothers me.
Yet, even with those issues, I would still recommend The Corruption of Alston House because for the things that bother me about it, there are far more things to like. First, I dig a slow burn novel, and Quick takes his time here. Yes, I’m fully aware of the irony of what I’m writing, but even if it were leaner, it would still be a heckuva terrifying ride through a demon-infested countryside. Quick introduces you to a variety of characters, letting you get to know each one and care for who you need to care about. While a few do meet the ‘small town resident’ stereotype, that’s okay. They are still real enough.
The history of Alston House is a delight as well. Well, a delight for us horror fans. There are good reasons why the town residents consider it the local haunted house, and the goings-on in it over the years are pretty damning. Look, I’d probably buy a house with a shady past if the price was right, but I’m gonna be honest here: I’d take a hard pass on this one.
Also, I have to give credit in that Quick took a story you’ve heard or read many times before and still delivered it fresh to your eyeballs. You’ve been to that haunted house, you’ve seen those demons doing those bad things, and you’ve met those people fighting evil. It’s tough to take these things and put a new label on it for people to enjoy, but Quick does exactly that. Sure I’ve met Katherine before under different guises, but I still cared enough about this Katherine to root for her and help her come through.
John Quick had been recommended to me numerous times before I entered Alston House, and it’s easy to see why. You know you are dealing with a talented author where even if your first outing with them isn’t quite what you wanted, you’re eager to read more. That’s where I am right now. The Corruption of Alston House might be my first novel of Quick’s, but it definitely won’t be my last.
This page includes affiliate links where Horror DNA may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.