Eric is a once upon a time Los Angeles cinematographer who is currently etching out a living in Chicago, creating videos for weddings, anniversaries, graduations and funerals. Lots and lots of funerals. In fact it is at one of these events that he meets Alyssa Bradford, who makes Eric a very generous offer to travel to French Lick and West Baden, Indiana where her father in law grew up and to make a documentary based on his early years, which remain shrouded in mystery. She has also brought Eric a small bottle of mineral water, from that area, that the old man has kept in his possession for eighty odd years now. A small green, glass bottle, unopened all these many years.
Here’s the thing, Eric opens that small glass bottle and takes a drink. WTF who would do that with an 80 year old bottle of water. I had a hard time accepting this simple act and that in turn had an impact on my enjoyment of the rest, which is unfortunate as this really is an eerie, hypnotic, slow burn of a story, with a supernatural edge.
I mean we have the beautiful West Baden Springs hotel, a lost river, the haunting strains of a violin playing a beautiful elegy, a chaotic storm brewing and restless spirits from a time long since past. Add to this a cast of truly believable characters which includes Anne, an 86 year old resident, who makes her way daily, slowly, but daily to the hotel for a cocktail and keeps a meticulous log of all weather indicators because she senses, knows really, that something big is heading their way. I just loved her!
This should all add up to a 5 star book, but for me it just never got there. I didn’t feel that creep along my spine and while the characters were well rendered I never actually felt that SNAP! It was quite possibly me. I mean I have read four 5 star books already this year so it is entirely possible that I just set the bar too high
3.5 stars. (It is also the first time that I have felt so strongly that the Goodreads rating system could be improved.)