Review: Stillwell by Michael Phillip Cash

Stillwell by Michael Phillip Cash
Genre: Horror, New Adult, Mystery & Thrillers
Authors: Michael Phillip Cash
Date Published: June 21, 2013
Publisher: Chelshire Inc.
Edition: paperback (I got an e-ARC via Netgalley)
ISBN-13: 9781484196090
Size: 192

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Paul Russo's wife just died. While trying to get his family's life back in order, Paul is being tormented by a demon who is holding his wife's spirit hostage on the other side. His fate is intertwined with an old haunted mansion on the north shore of Long Island called Stillwell Manor. Paul must find clues dating back hundreds of years to set his wife's soul free.


Within the first week after his wife's death, Paul Russo is plagued with nightmares in his sleep. A huge hairy beast is taking his wife captive in what must be the afterlife. During the day, he sees things that shouldn't be there. He doesn't believe in ghosts and he's afraid he's slowly going nuts, which can't be for he has three kids to look after.

He's been putting off his work ever since his wife was diagnosed with brain tumor. He was the best broker of a prestigious Long Island realty company so he was let off the hook. His wife's treatments had drained their money and now, he's relying on the meager savings they had left. Fortunately as he got back on his job, a long-time friend trusts him to be able to sell a very old mansion, the Stillwell Manor, a house built on 1700s before the Revolutionary War.

Stillwell was a difficult project, what with its disturbing history. The previous owners, an old couple, died there with the husband killing his wife before shooting himself. On 1775, the body of the estate owner's daughter was found on the bottom of the well on which the estate was named after. It's rumored that her peaceful soul still lingers there. What's more? She looked like Paul's deceased wife.

The atmosphere of the story is way too light to be horror and the plot seems too uneventful for my taste. Good thing, I like Paul that his realness is what kept me reading this book.

The elements of the story have a huge potential (for one, the lady ghost of Stillwell and the possibility of what keeps her rooted there) for it to be so much more than how the author made the whole story to be. The ghost's story was nice but whatever was that ghost's motive was so corny. Besides, as the way I see it, that ghost's past has no correlation whatsoever with Paul's life (whatever relation there was is no factor for it to affect the ghost).

As Paul reached that deciding moment of the book, there were only a dozen pages left and reading them felt so less. Everything after that point was just so anticlimactic. However Paul was ever to achieve peace, in my viewpoint, is no way for it to interact with the ghost of Stillwell's resolution. Just watch animes or read manga likes Ghost Hunt and Another and you will know so much more about effective ghost stories.

Moreover, a "demon" is less scary when described as hairy as a bear or ape. I'd be more freaked with an image of an emaciated pale being (Nosferatu) than a beast. As a horror junkie, I was disappointed with how the story turned out to be in the end. And no, it has nothing to do with comparing the ending like how Stephen King mutilates his characters as an ending. I'm just disappointed with the Stillwell ghost's supposed scary story. If she was just like that, then there's not even a reason for her to haunt.

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