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Twelve Nights at Rotter House

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Felix Allsey is a travel writer with a keen eye for the paranormal, and he's carved out a unique, if only slightly lucrative, niche for himself in nonfiction; he writes travelogues of the country's most haunted places, after haunting them himself. When he convinces the owner of the infamous Rotterdam Mansion to let him stay on the premises for 13 nights, he believes he's fi Felix Allsey is a travel writer with a keen eye for the paranormal, and he's carved out a unique, if only slightly lucrative, niche for himself in nonfiction; he writes travelogues of the country's most haunted places, after haunting them himself. When he convinces the owner of the infamous Rotterdam Mansion to let him stay on the premises for 13 nights, he believes he's finally found the location that will bring him a bestseller. As with his other gigs, he sets rules for himself: no leaving the house for any reason, refrain from outside contact, and sleep during the day. When Thomas Ruth, Felix's oldest friend and fellow horror film obsessive, joins him on the project, the two dance around a recent and unspeakably painful rough-patch in their friendship, but eventually fall into their old rhythms of dark humor and movie trivia. That's when things start going wrong: screams from upstairs, figures in the thresholds, and more than what should be in any basement. Felix realizes the book he's writing, and his very state of mind, is tilting from nonfiction into all out horror, and the shocking climax answers a question that's been staring these men in the face all along: In Rotter House, who's haunting who?


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Felix Allsey is a travel writer with a keen eye for the paranormal, and he's carved out a unique, if only slightly lucrative, niche for himself in nonfiction; he writes travelogues of the country's most haunted places, after haunting them himself. When he convinces the owner of the infamous Rotterdam Mansion to let him stay on the premises for 13 nights, he believes he's fi Felix Allsey is a travel writer with a keen eye for the paranormal, and he's carved out a unique, if only slightly lucrative, niche for himself in nonfiction; he writes travelogues of the country's most haunted places, after haunting them himself. When he convinces the owner of the infamous Rotterdam Mansion to let him stay on the premises for 13 nights, he believes he's finally found the location that will bring him a bestseller. As with his other gigs, he sets rules for himself: no leaving the house for any reason, refrain from outside contact, and sleep during the day. When Thomas Ruth, Felix's oldest friend and fellow horror film obsessive, joins him on the project, the two dance around a recent and unspeakably painful rough-patch in their friendship, but eventually fall into their old rhythms of dark humor and movie trivia. That's when things start going wrong: screams from upstairs, figures in the thresholds, and more than what should be in any basement. Felix realizes the book he's writing, and his very state of mind, is tilting from nonfiction into all out horror, and the shocking climax answers a question that's been staring these men in the face all along: In Rotter House, who's haunting who?

30 review for Twelve Nights at Rotter House

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    4.5 Stars This might be the most fun I have ever had reading a haunted house story! Video Review: https://youtu.be/DzfRfr_TksE While I love reading horror, I often struggle when reading haunted house stories. I just find that the subgenre tends to be overdone and exhausted. So it is always a wonderful experience when I find a haunted house story that actually feels fresh. So often, I find haunted house stories to be quite slow, but this one moved along at a good pace. I was pulled into the story fro 4.5 Stars This might be the most fun I have ever had reading a haunted house story! Video Review: https://youtu.be/DzfRfr_TksE While I love reading horror, I often struggle when reading haunted house stories. I just find that the subgenre tends to be overdone and exhausted. So it is always a wonderful experience when I find a haunted house story that actually feels fresh. So often, I find haunted house stories to be quite slow, but this one moved along at a good pace. I was pulled into the story from the first chapter and stayed immerse the entire time, flying through the pages in just a few days. I tend to prefer shorter horror fiction and I thought this novel was just about the perfect length.  Told in first person perspective, I found the main character, Felix, to be an entertaining narrator. The story was filled with good humour as the characters poked fun at the cliches of the haunted house genre. As someone who does not believe in the supernatural, I particularly loved reading from the perspective of a fellow skeptic. This story was also incredibly meta. From the start, the characters were completely aware that they were acting out a haunted house story, purposely recreating the classic trope of the subgenre. Further to that, the characters made so many pop culture references to haunted house movies and books. Some readers might find these sections a bit excessive, but I personally really enjoyed fangirling over all the references. Given all these meta aspects, I think this book will appeal to readers who loved Kill Creek by Scott Thomas, which is another self-aware haunted house narrative.  While this novel felt like a fresh take on the haunted house story, I would still consider the actual plot to be quite predictable. The characters purposely played out the cliches of the genre and experienced the creepy results that one would expect. Other reviewers have gushed about a twist ending, but I correctly predicted most of the ending within a few chapters. Granted, I should acknowledge that I probably consume more horror than the average reader so I am very familiar with the various horror story endings. Unfortunately, this happened to be one that I have read too many times. I was slightly let down by the ending, only because I thought it would be unguessable, yet I still thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the story. Overall, this novel was an absolute blast to read and one I will likely reread in the future. I would highly recommend it to any horror fiction reader looking for a gripping house story that is smart and self aware.  Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher, Turner Publishing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Such a great way to start off the reading year! Although there were a few incredibly violent and scary scenes, this overall was a cozy horror because of the dynamic between Felix and Thomas. I could have listened to them banter about horror movies for 500 pages and would have been happy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror

    Review originally published in SCREAM Mag Nov/Dec 2019 The premise of this one goes like this, Felix Allsey writes travelogues of notorious haunted houses. He finds one called, Rotterdam Mansion that’s a little under the radar--not much information on it. Felix decides he will spend thirteen nights in the haunted house with nothing but basic essentials and a trail camera to video everything. It’s the perfect horror story set up! Two chapters in and I was pretty hooked. I’m always one to show up fo Review originally published in SCREAM Mag Nov/Dec 2019 The premise of this one goes like this, Felix Allsey writes travelogues of notorious haunted houses. He finds one called, Rotterdam Mansion that’s a little under the radar--not much information on it. Felix decides he will spend thirteen nights in the haunted house with nothing but basic essentials and a trail camera to video everything. It’s the perfect horror story set up! Two chapters in and I was pretty hooked. I’m always one to show up for a quality haunted house story. Somewhere along the line, the main character’s friend shows up. I wasn’t even entirely sure if I was on board with there being two people spending the night, things felt creepier when it was just the one guy. My skepticism proved correct. Alex’s friend, Thomas is a bit of a chatty-cathy and the two men get into these long conversations about the past and their friendship that made me want to skip ahead. They also play this game several times called “Film Fight”--a movie trivia game that would probably be really cool for horror cinephiles but for someone with basic horror-movie knowledge, those chapters (yes, whole chapters) were boring. The parts are broken into “Night One” and “Night Two” and so on, by Night Six, nothing very eventful has happened in the house. There was one paranormal event that got me all excited but then the men talked about it to death and took all the fun out of it. Later, the men explore their friendship (again) and the demise of what once was a healthy relationship between them. They reminisce about the old times of when they would hang out--Alex and Thomas and each other wives. Some uncomfortable memories begin to surface creating tension between the two friends. All the while, they are sitting in a haunted house and I was getting impatient with their lack of enthusiasm about their surroundings. Check on that trail camera for crying out loud! The climax and conclusion could be easily spoiled and I am one who protects reader discovery at all costs so I won’t even hint at what happens towards the end of the book but the story does take a dark and unexpected turn that I really enjoyed. I’m just afraid that it was too little, too late. 2 out of 5 skulls

  4. 5 out of 5

    Juli

    Felix Allsey is a travel writer. Well, he wants to be a travel writer....one that focuses on the macabre. But his previous works have been largely ignored. So, he decides to spend 13 nights totally immersed in a haunted house. No leaving the house. No contact with the outside world. Just the house. Nothing else. No electricity. No internet. No cell phone. No distractions. And it's not just any haunted house. It's Rotterdam Mansion. Or Rotter House, for short. In its 200 years, the house can boas Felix Allsey is a travel writer. Well, he wants to be a travel writer....one that focuses on the macabre. But his previous works have been largely ignored. So, he decides to spend 13 nights totally immersed in a haunted house. No leaving the house. No contact with the outside world. Just the house. Nothing else. No electricity. No internet. No cell phone. No distractions. And it's not just any haunted house. It's Rotterdam Mansion. Or Rotter House, for short. In its 200 years, the house can boast 3 stories, 40 rooms, 3 suicides, 8 murders, 2 deaths of undetermined cause, 4 deaths of a weird sort, 2 disappearances, and a stint as hideaway for a murderer. Not to mention its years as a boarding house of ill repute and a bordello. Felix is determined to stay for 13 nights in the house. He even invites a friend to join him. His friendship with Thomas has been on the rocks for awhile....and maybe this adventure will help work things out. I love haunted house stories, so thoroughly enjoyed this book! There are a lot of film and book references sprinkled in the dialogue between Felix and Thomas. I took many reading breaks to check if certain films were on Netflix or Amazon Prime.....and to check if my library had a copy of certain classic haunted house stories. Not to mention all the reading breaks for looking up the history of Ouija boards, the Amityville Horror scandal, Gail Russell's difficulties on the set of The Univited, etc. I have enough horror films and creepy books on a list to last me for a few months. :) Fun! This story is a tale about a haunted house....but also a story about the relationship between Felix and Thomas. They talk a lot while investigating the house. I liked how their friendship and investigating the house intertwined together. The story definitely kept my attention from start to finish. It is well-written, definitely creepy in spots, and the ending was great! This is the first book by J.W. Ocker that I've read. I like his writing style, all the movie/book references and the plot. I will definitely be reading more of his work! **I voluntarily read a review copy of this book. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

  5. 5 out of 5

    Krystin Rachel

    Book Blog | Bookstagram "Where else was I fundamentally wrong about life and the universe and how everything worked? Is life a cycle of us realizing how stupid we are over and over again until we die?" Opening Hook: Eric Andre screaming "let me in!" Main Character: 100% that skeptic. Plot Twisty-ness: A total three-way. While I love horror as a genre in any form, I admit I don't read as much of it as I would like. And when I do read it, I find I'm disappointed that things just weren't as scary or Book Blog | Bookstagram "Where else was I fundamentally wrong about life and the universe and how everything worked? Is life a cycle of us realizing how stupid we are over and over again until we die?" Opening Hook: Eric Andre screaming "let me in!" Main Character: 100% that skeptic. Plot Twisty-ness: A total three-way. While I love horror as a genre in any form, I admit I don't read as much of it as I would like. And when I do read it, I find I'm disappointed that things just weren't as scary or twisted as I wanted them to be. Maybe my expectations are just too high. I'm 100% that bitch reader. But I am making an concerted effort to read more horror until I find my lane in the genre. That said, for me, Twelve Nights at Rotter House is on the slow-burner end of the horror spectrum. For much of the middle of the book, I wondered if anything really scary was ever going to happen and I could feel my typical disappointment start to brew. There are some disembodied screams, unexplained noises, figures that disappear, and of course the quintessential dumbwaiter that never reveals anything good, but none of it was really getting my heart rate up. The main character of Felix was a little overwrought in how skeptical he was of everything, and his extreme rationalizing aided in creating a slower atmosphere for me. Scary moments were consistently downplayed, sucking the spooky guts out of the story and lending itself to my question of if anything truly scary was going to happen because any time I thought something creepy was afoot, Felix came in and just Debbie Downer'ed all over the place. He's a dream killer, is what he is. But, at the same time, this overly skeptical take on the haunted house story was fresh (for me) and different and believable, if not insistent. It kept me intrigued enough to keep paying attention to the more mundane elements. Because seriously, was anything really scary ever going to happen? There was only one way to find out. PAY ATTENTION. The gist is this: Felix Allsey needs to write a book that's actually going to sell before he loses his fed-up wife and his livelihood. Felix stays in haunted locations the world over and then writes about his experiences. So far, none of his work has caught fire. When the owner of the infamous Rotter House agrees to let him stay in the decrepit Victorian for 13 nights, Felix is convinced the resulting book is the one that will finally bring him the success he needs to turn his life around. Blah. Kind of typical. To spice things up, enter Thomas - Fexlis' former friend and haunted house sleepover partner, with whom he has a contentious relationship after some unspeakable event between them. Felix asks Thomas to work with him at Rotter House to get their friendship back on track and enjoy the "inevitable" success of the book together. There was too much history to throw it all away now. A lot of the book is focused on the personal issues between Felix and Thomas, revealing bigger and bigger secrets as to why they had a falling out Eventually their relationship becomes so sordid as they work through their issues with long conversations and reminiscing, that it didn't really matter to me if there were murderous ghosts in the house or not. TELL ME ABOUT BLACKING OUT AND TOUCHING BODY PARTS, GUYS! Oh, I've said too much. All of this drama, that I was absolutely living for, didn't start to ramp up until the last quarter of the novel. So for me, the pacing is wholly uneven. I believe it was an effort to throw the reader off as the ending drew closer so it was that much more shocking, but to a reader with a lower DNF threshold, it might have stopped them from finishing a novel that truly had a fucking amazing twist ending. I mean, seriously. It's just... The last quarter of the book ALMOST makes up for all the nothing-nothing that somehow manages to fill up the pages before it. I like to think of myself as a reader who can catch the red herrings and clues, but this book so cleverly used the expectation of ghosties, and the vagueness in which they do or do not appear, to bury the hints pretty much in plain sight. The ending completely threw me for a loop, but I also totally should have seen it coming. I consider that a testament to the author's writing abilities, and/or my sadly limited experience with horror fiction. If only the first part of the novel hadn't been so slow, I'd be rating this closer to five stars, probably. I mean, I hope. It is that magical time of year when my grinchy heart grows three sizes. ⭐⭐⭐½ | 3.5 stars rounded up

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    3.5 Stars. TWLEVE NIGHTS AT ROTTER HOUSE is the first I have read from author J.W. Ocker. The premise was unique--Felix Alley, a travel writer, wanted to write a non-fiction account of his stay at Rotterdam Mansion for two weeks. The catch? Felix is a nonbeliever in the supernatural. ". . . We feel ghost-like in these houses, so we put ghosts in them . . . " To make the account more interesting, he invites his one-time best friend, Thomas Ruth--who DOES believe in the supernatural--to join him. 3.5 Stars. TWLEVE NIGHTS AT ROTTER HOUSE is the first I have read from author J.W. Ocker. The premise was unique--Felix Alley, a travel writer, wanted to write a non-fiction account of his stay at Rotterdam Mansion for two weeks. The catch? Felix is a nonbeliever in the supernatural. ". . . We feel ghost-like in these houses, so we put ghosts in them . . . " To make the account more interesting, he invites his one-time best friend, Thomas Ruth--who DOES believe in the supernatural--to join him. Through their banter, we realize that there is a mystery waiting to be unveiled as to why they had "fallen out" over the past year. "It sounded as if we had both been living in haunted houses of our own for the past year . . . " Despite the incredible atmosphere of Rotter House, and the comedic interactions between our main characters, very little actually "happens" during the first three-quarters or so of the novel. Mainly dialog (internal and to each other) over-discussing each and every minute event . . . or more often, "non-events". ". . . Haunted houses don't give us the stories. We give the stories to them . . . " Naturally, I made my predictions early on in the book, as the characters' repetitious conversations really weren't keeping my attention. However, when we finally get close to the end, everything changes. "Anger . . . is the most powerful antidote to fear . . . " This is where my entire opinion of the novel changed. The revelations that began to unfold far surpassed what I was expecting. Perhaps this was because of the relative inactivity up to this point. Whatever the reason, I loved that last quarter enough to increase my rating of the book as a whole. Overall, I would definitely read more by this author in the future. While the ending really panned out, I wish the rest of the novel had carried more of the "spark" to keep my interest all throughout.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cameron Chaney

    Thank you to the author and publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. You can check out my full video review HERE. I've been a fan of Ocker's for a few years now. His love of the spooky and macabre is infectious, and I find myself revisiting his nonfiction book A Season with the Witch on a regular basis, so when I heard he was working on his first horror novel, it quickly became one of my most anticipated books of the year. Overall, it did not disappoint. Thank you to the author and publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. You can check out my full video review HERE. I've been a fan of Ocker's for a few years now. His love of the spooky and macabre is infectious, and I find myself revisiting his nonfiction book A Season with the Witch on a regular basis, so when I heard he was working on his first horror novel, it quickly became one of my most anticipated books of the year. Overall, it did not disappoint. This is a meta take on the haunted house subgenre, referencing many other books and films about haunted houses as well as turning those basic tropes on their heads. It's a fun read that gave me the creeps once or twice and kept me invested in the characters' drama. 4 stars. Highly recommended!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jaya

    Thoroughly managed to spook myself by reading this one especially on a stormy cold night :D Would have given this one a solid 5 stars but the climax kind of ruined it for me. I am left with SO many questions. Wanted to do a better reaction-review, this'l have to do for now

  9. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    "The first floor had plenty of furniture, surely bought and left by countless past residents who dared call this behemoth home. When you flee in terror, you rarely stop for the ottomans." This was not at all what I was expecting from what sounded like a "typical haunted house" novel. Yes Felix moves into an abandoned house in order to write a book about his experiences, but from the start the alleged haunted history of this home is a bit vague which only serves to emphasize that it may not be the "The first floor had plenty of furniture, surely bought and left by countless past residents who dared call this behemoth home. When you flee in terror, you rarely stop for the ottomans." This was not at all what I was expecting from what sounded like a "typical haunted house" novel. Yes Felix moves into an abandoned house in order to write a book about his experiences, but from the start the alleged haunted history of this home is a bit vague which only serves to emphasize that it may not be the main theme in this story. Enter Thomas, the estranged best friend. We don't really know why these former best buds have stopped speaking to each other, only that Felix has reached out to him for help with his book and although it is the first time they've bothered with each other in a year, Thomas has agreed. The pace is a bit slow here and we are given only the briefest of hints as to what could have caused their falling out. At this point I thought I had it all figured out and that the ghosts were not meant to be literal but whether or not this ghost of a friendship could be resurrected from it's death. I can't share much more of my thought process or tell you if I was right or wrong in my assumptions without ruining the reveal at the end but I will say that although it was a leisurely arrival the pay off was with the wait. I received an advance copy for review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Richard Wilson

    So, let me tell you that I have been listening to the unabridged version of this book while working on a piece of art since last night.....I just finished!!! Are you ready to read my review of 'Twelve Nights At Rotter House"? Here it is: What makes a house Haunted? What makes us all do or say things that we regret later in our lives? Is there real EVIL in this world.....and do you believe in Ghosts? I went into this book not knowing anything about it, or its author. I found out that the author; So, let me tell you that I have been listening to the unabridged version of this book while working on a piece of art since last night.....I just finished!!! Are you ready to read my review of 'Twelve Nights At Rotter House"? Here it is: What makes a house Haunted? What makes us all do or say things that we regret later in our lives? Is there real EVIL in this world.....and do you believe in Ghosts? I went into this book not knowing anything about it, or its author. I found out that the author; J.W. Ocker is a travel writer/author as is the main character in this book; Felix is. It is the story about an author whose horror novels have not sold very well, so he gets the idea to spend 13 Nights In Rotter House. This is a huge victorian house that was built by a very wealthy and childless man who was a sex addict, and loved to entertain in the early 20th century. Felix has a best friend ( Thomas) that has been in his life forever, like that friend we have all had in our lives, or even some of us are lucky enough and still do. When Thomas decides to join Alex in Rotter House all hell breaks loose. Human evils, secrets from the past and ghosts of all shapes, sizes and colors come out from these walls of Rotter House. Ocker, is a writer who has taken every SINGLE horror movie, tag line, horror trope, and urban legend and has woven it into a story that made me scared at times, laugh my ass off at others, and even made me cry making me think of things that have happened in my own life. If you are a ghost story fan, a Haunted House fan, or just a person who loves an incredibly well written book, this is for you. But let me warn you......Rotter House is NOT what you think it is. Are you ready? My video review of this book will be appearing tomorrow on my YouTube Channel; AreYouIntoHorror , make sure you check it out. Here is the link to it: https://youtu.be/igVGVhnwGk0 ...and make sure you get your own copy of this book......you'll be glad you did. Richard Wilson Sacramento CA 5-10-2020

  11. 5 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

    3.5 Stars.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Andrew “The Weirdling” Glos

    It is hard to be sure what makes a good haunted house novel. One would think that by now I have read enough of them to know. Sadly, that is not yet the case. I am still working on it. But whatever the formula is, this book has it. Somewhere between the relatable protagonist, the intriguing story, the twist ending, etc. this book delivered. Or, at least it did for me. In the case of this book, I think most of what really worked for me was the style of writing and the protagonist. To be honest, th It is hard to be sure what makes a good haunted house novel. One would think that by now I have read enough of them to know. Sadly, that is not yet the case. I am still working on it. But whatever the formula is, this book has it. Somewhere between the relatable protagonist, the intriguing story, the twist ending, etc. this book delivered. Or, at least it did for me. In the case of this book, I think most of what really worked for me was the style of writing and the protagonist. To be honest, the “mystery“ of the house and the spooks were a little on the anemic side. The “twist ending“ was something that I saw from a mile away. However, none of that kept me from enjoying the book. And I can only assume that is because the quality of the writing and the characters. Giving this one four stars, appears to be on the upper end of ratings for this book. I assume that is because of the problems that I mentioned above.But the truth is, I’m not sure how much new ground there is to break in the story of a haunted house. I’m not sure that it is fair to hold a story about a haunted house accountable for its inability to do something totally new and outside of the box. That said, this story did about as much as anybody could to shake up the normal haunted house tropes. I especially enjoyed the ways in which the book directly addressed haunted house archetypes and tropes, it’s use of them, and their efficacy in telling scary stories. All around, I was pleased with this one.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary |

    It was pretty good, but it’s the type of book that a particular movie has done better. Maybe as a movie it would do what it did even better. As a book, though, it left me mildly interested and with a powerful thirst for good haunted house movies. For a book where we spend entirely too much time inside one character’s head, Ocker does a good job of keeping things interesting without giving anything away at the get-go. It was really close to the end of the novel before I actually started to suspect It was pretty good, but it’s the type of book that a particular movie has done better. Maybe as a movie it would do what it did even better. As a book, though, it left me mildly interested and with a powerful thirst for good haunted house movies. For a book where we spend entirely too much time inside one character’s head, Ocker does a good job of keeping things interesting without giving anything away at the get-go. It was really close to the end of the novel before I actually started to suspect that things were going to go unexpectedly screwy. I might have caught on earlier if I’d been paying more attention, but truth be told this book just didn’t catch me fully until it was almost too late. The pacing was good. The dialogue was decent. Some of the scenes moderately grossed me out. While it didn’t exactly shiver my timbers, it did entertain me when I was paying attention to it. Worth a look-see if you like head-game type horror. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss for review consideration.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mindi

    Review to follow...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kallie (pageandparlor) Lou Weisgarber

    Felix Allsey is a cocky travel writer. He is a sceptic that writes about the haunted places that he visits. He convinces the owner of the Rotterdam Mansion, or Rotter House, to let him stay there with no contact with the outside world for 13 nights. He is convinced that this book will put him on the best seller’s list.When his best friend, Thomas, joins him for the 13 night project, things start going wrong. Felix has to face the fact that just maybe, he is haunted. I really enjoyed this book. It Felix Allsey is a cocky travel writer. He is a sceptic that writes about the haunted places that he visits. He convinces the owner of the Rotterdam Mansion, or Rotter House, to let him stay there with no contact with the outside world for 13 nights. He is convinced that this book will put him on the best seller’s list.When his best friend, Thomas, joins him for the 13 night project, things start going wrong. Felix has to face the fact that just maybe, he is haunted. I really enjoyed this book. It started out as one genre and then completely turned on its head into another genre. As i’m sitting to write this review, I am really mad that I didn’t catch the hints throughout the book as to how it would end. Because those hints are there, in plain sight, waiting for you to pick up on them. But you won’t. Not until you finish it and sit down to write a review on it. Firstly, it’s a great concept. Especially if you’re like me and you’re constantly analyzing character dialogue and writing techniques because Ocker literally has the characters talk about those things. The concept also provides a ready reason for why they don’t leave the house and why they don’t have lights or a phone. Those are all of the things I think about when reading a haunted house book. Why don’t they turn on the lights? Why are these people still here? Why don’t they call someone? I loved that it was so meta. They knew they were acting out this haunted house story, and fully intended to act out all of the classic haunted house tropes. I love that there is this mystery between the two friends that has put their friendship on rough waters. There are hints at this mystery that are laid out until it’s finally revealed and the characters are forced to talk about it and work their way through it. While each of them is having this internal conflict, they are also dealing with this haunted house. Acting out tropes and receiving the expected results: mysterious noises, ghostly figures, and of course there is a creepy dumbwaiter that has a surprise in it’s gut. I do think that the novel was a bit slow. There seemed to be so little happening for so long. There was witty banter of friends and exploring the house, but there was no real action until the second half of the book, with most of it packed in the last quarter. I just wanted there to be more happening in the first half instead of just hearing a scream once or twice. All of the signs of the haunting in this book were just enough to keep me interested. J. W. Ocker did a great job at giving us ghosts and a haunting without really giving us much detail about the ghosts or the haunting. A scream here, a shadow there, all in perfect timing to keep the suspense up. It was also really nice to read this book from a skeptic’s point of view. Felix was constantly trying to rationalize everything. He made sure to talk about how the Ouija Board is sold at toy stores and made by toy companies. Thomas was the believer of the two and the conversations they had about the paranormal were really interesting. Those conversations also gave us some good background on each character. I loved the ending of this book. I definitely did not predict what was going to happen, but looking back it’s like, “How did I miss that?” And that twist ending is the whole reason this book changes it’s sub genre. If it had stayed on its course in supernatural horror, I probably would rate it around 2.5 stars. But because it changed the direction, it changed the whole story and I am rating it at 4 stars. It lost a star for how slow the first half of the book was. Overall, this book was fresh and at the same time it repeated all the classic haunted house tropes with a unique look. It was fun to read and I FLEW through the second half of the book. I recommend it to all horror film buffs, haunted house fans, and anyone looking for a crazy twist ending. Twelve Nights at Rotter House is smart and self aware and will take you by surprise.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This book was simultaneously not at all, and exactly, what I expected. In a good way. I wanted a spooky story that found a way to expand beyond the common tropes, and this definitely delivered! The story doesn't take itself too seriously until it's too late and you're invested, and then it blows up in your face. Solid, very enjoyable, will read again.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bob Lewis

    I mostly enjoyed this book. I was previously unfamiliar with the author's work when I bought a copy for a book club, and I certainly liked it enough that I'll seek out his other work. In particular, the characters are quite familiar to me. As a skeptical lover of ghost stories myself, I quite enjoyed the book's handling of the debate between skeptics and believers in the paranormal, colored by obsession with the horror genre and the generally creepy. I felt right at home. The characters also lent I mostly enjoyed this book. I was previously unfamiliar with the author's work when I bought a copy for a book club, and I certainly liked it enough that I'll seek out his other work. In particular, the characters are quite familiar to me. As a skeptical lover of ghost stories myself, I quite enjoyed the book's handling of the debate between skeptics and believers in the paranormal, colored by obsession with the horror genre and the generally creepy. I felt right at home. The characters also lent themselves quite nicely to the plot, which I can best describe as a meta ghost story; that is, a haunted house story that's entirely self-aware. It's refreshing to see a novel that relies on genre tropes even while openly discussing them. It provided for a quick and enjoyable read with a couple of strong creepy moments and a few good laughs. Ultimately, I didn't find it a scary book, which I attribute to two factors. First, because the novel is so self-referential, moments of creepiness are often undercut by the narrator's analysis. This doesn't help the novel as a source of scares, but I think it improves the novel as a work of literature. Second, I've been reading and watching so much horror for so long that it takes something quite extraordinary to rattle my bones. This novel, while unique in many respects, doesn't have the terrifying oomph to get the job done. Along the same lines, without spoiling anything, I have to say that I didn't much care for the ending. Perhaps it's because I'm so immersed in the genre, but I frankly didn't find it nearly as surprising as I think it was meant to be, and I'd successfully guessed most of it well in advance of the final revelations. Despite these flaws--if one wishes to characterize them as flaws--I'm quite pleased to have read the book and I'm happy to recommend it, especially to my fellow fans of the horror genre.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Balthazarinblue

    Goddamit, this was a five out of five star read until the nth hour twist made it clear it's just some dudes racist cuckold fantasy. I'm so mad I enjoyed three quarters if this and skeeved out the blurb etc tricked me into thinking it would be a regular haunted house story. Gross.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    Twelve Nights at Rotter House was a random library pick. IT also turn out to be one of the creepiest horror books that I have read in a long time. In the story, Felix is a not so successful travel writer who likes to investigate and write about creepy places in the world. He is not a believer, but is open to having his mind changed. He is hoping Rotter House will give him the comeback book that he needs to make money. This would make a great horror movie. The twist ending was a genuine surprise. Twelve Nights at Rotter House was a random library pick. IT also turn out to be one of the creepiest horror books that I have read in a long time. In the story, Felix is a not so successful travel writer who likes to investigate and write about creepy places in the world. He is not a believer, but is open to having his mind changed. He is hoping Rotter House will give him the comeback book that he needs to make money. This would make a great horror movie. The twist ending was a genuine surprise. I thought the story was going in one direction and I was completely wrong. The author did a great job of building tension and setting a perfect spooky atmosphere. The characters were interesting, that includes that house. It takes on a personality of it own. This is definitely not a book to read when you are at home alone. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a good haunted house book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amanda (readlingoctopus714) Turner

    I think I'll start at the end with this one....the ending is going to take you by surprise. Just trust me, it will. All of the hints are there throughout the story, you just don't realize they are right in front of your face until you get to those last few chapters. Then, you will say to yourself "OMG! How did I not see that? How did I not put those pieces all together?" The ending is what makes this book! So back to the beginning-- Felix Allsey is a travel writer who writes about haunted places I think I'll start at the end with this one....the ending is going to take you by surprise. Just trust me, it will. All of the hints are there throughout the story, you just don't realize they are right in front of your face until you get to those last few chapters. Then, you will say to yourself "OMG! How did I not see that? How did I not put those pieces all together?" The ending is what makes this book! So back to the beginning-- Felix Allsey is a travel writer who writes about haunted places he visits, and he has a great new idea for his book. He will spend thirteen nights in the famed haunted Rotterdam Mansion (Rotter House) and document every second of his experience and encounters through journals and video footage. He is a paranormal skeptic, so he goes into the stay interested in the experience, but rationalizing every little thing that happens. And then in walks his friend Thomas, who will surprisingly be Felix's companion for the thirteen night stay, and we quickly learn that something happened between the two to cause their friendship to become rocky at best. Each time the two heard a noise, or saw a shadow, Felix would try to explain it as a anything except paranormal, and Thomas (being more of a believer) would be more interested in investigating. The story started out as a bit of a slow burner for me. I felt like it was a story really desperately wanting to be a haunted house story, but was instead just falling into so many haunted house cliches. I spent a good portion of the story waiting for something drastic to happen. You get little hints all throughout of scariness (seeing a shadow here, hearing creepy noises there, unexplained things happening), but nothing BIG happens until the very end, and then, WOAH! It really all comes together. Then, in these last few chapters, it's almost as if the entire genre has changed and that this can no longer be pegged as a horror story, because it ends up being so much more. The last few chapters of the book are what gave it the 4 stars. That genre redefining towards the end was phenomenally done. I couldn't give it a full 5 stars simply because I felt like the first maybe 60-70% of the book I was waiting for some action. Thank you Turner Publishing Company for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brian Mcclain

    Felix is a travel writer who writes about spooky places while being a non-believer. He gains access to Rotter Mansion, a house with too many ghost stories to spend 13 nights. Things are spooky early, until his best friend Thomas shows up as he'd asked him to. They dance around a painful spot in their lives while trying to regain their friendship as things get increasingly amped up and spooky. The conclusion of the book is ripe for spoilers so I'll just say it was pretty shocking like any good ha Felix is a travel writer who writes about spooky places while being a non-believer. He gains access to Rotter Mansion, a house with too many ghost stories to spend 13 nights. Things are spooky early, until his best friend Thomas shows up as he'd asked him to. They dance around a painful spot in their lives while trying to regain their friendship as things get increasingly amped up and spooky. The conclusion of the book is ripe for spoilers so I'll just say it was pretty shocking like any good haunted house story should be. I enjoyed this story for the most part. The main character Felix and Thomas had a damaged friendship but it seemed like a damaged friendship. And the balancing of giving each other space and still being there for each other seemed reasonable. The house was spooky with a number of creepy scenes which kept me listening to this during the day time. And I liked some of the meta commentary that having the main character be self aware of the situation allotted the author. They weren't intrusive, but were a cool touch in that the author is trying to figure out how to make a book that sells out of his experiences.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carla

    I'm usually up for some scary stories, and this was no exception. A struggling writer wants to house sit for 2 weeks in a supposed haunted house and then to write about the experience. Oh, by the way, he doesn't believe in ghosts. This book had short chapters rather curt short sentences, so read quickly. What started out as fairly good writing, got more bizarre as the book progressed, along with some underlying sexual relationships, friendships, between the two men living in the house. Some of t I'm usually up for some scary stories, and this was no exception. A struggling writer wants to house sit for 2 weeks in a supposed haunted house and then to write about the experience. Oh, by the way, he doesn't believe in ghosts. This book had short chapters rather curt short sentences, so read quickly. What started out as fairly good writing, got more bizarre as the book progressed, along with some underlying sexual relationships, friendships, between the two men living in the house. Some of the sexual terminology ended up just being gross. Was this to shock? The only part that shocked me was how it degraded the book, the story and the writer. Waste of my day.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Erin Newton

    This was so interesting. The whole idea of staying inside a haunted house with no departure until 13 nights is very creepy. Of course the whole time I'm thinking why is the title twelve nights and not thirteen? I did not see the twist at the end. At all. I love horror stories and movies and the study of the paranormal so I was totally absorbed from the first page. Again, this was just so interesting.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Greene

    Hauntingly raw and beautifully written.

  25. 5 out of 5

    tattooedreader13

    Solid haunted house story. Highly recommend the audiobook, Matt Godfrey's narration really brings Ocker's humor & creepy elements to life. Solid haunted house story. Highly recommend the audiobook, Matt Godfrey's narration really brings Ocker's humor & creepy elements to life.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tabatha Yee

    I enjoyed all the pop culture horror references but the book was highly predictable. I would definitely read another book by this author.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Will very likely be near the top of my favorite reads of the year

  28. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    Reads half like a term paper on horror movies written for a movie studies class and half like a debate team’s practice session on the subject of the paranormal. A short story that’s been crammed full of so many pop culture references and self-referential meta-commentary that it can barely even move beneath its own swollen weight. Still, it’s not completely lacking in fun. I wouldn’t turn my nose up at future works of fiction by this author if he can manage to suppress his urge to spend page afte Reads half like a term paper on horror movies written for a movie studies class and half like a debate team’s practice session on the subject of the paranormal. A short story that’s been crammed full of so many pop culture references and self-referential meta-commentary that it can barely even move beneath its own swollen weight. Still, it’s not completely lacking in fun. I wouldn’t turn my nose up at future works of fiction by this author if he can manage to suppress his urge to spend page after page listing the names of movies that he’s seen.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Reading Reindeer

    This "Haunted House" story I found exceptional for several reasons. Throughout the book, Thomas and Felix are such a cogent "odd couple," really a perfectly matched set of opposites, a pair who constantly play riffs off each other. Next, there's humour: not a fictional aspect I usually seek out, but here it's a welcome leavening, and I can see it working effectively if this novel was a stage play [and oddly, that would be my choice in preference to: a Horror film--which seques right into my next This "Haunted House" story I found exceptional for several reasons. Throughout the book, Thomas and Felix are such a cogent "odd couple," really a perfectly matched set of opposites, a pair who constantly play riffs off each other. Next, there's humour: not a fictional aspect I usually seek out, but here it's a welcome leavening, and I can see it working effectively if this novel was a stage play [and oddly, that would be my choice in preference to: a Horror film--which seques right into my next point], these guys are like horror film memory champions! Like kids of the 50's memorizing Baseball stats, these guys know their B-movies! But best of all, there's the SCARES, the tongue-in-cheek reactions of Felix and Thomas; and finally, That Denouement. Not in a million years...and my reaction was horror, grief, sorrow, astoundment, horror....and still pondering two days later. What a story!

  30. 5 out of 5

    J.A. Sullivan

    Felix has a feeling that his next nonfiction book, Thirteen Nights at Rotter House, is going to be the one to launch him into financial success. He invites his friend, Thomas, to join an investigation of this haunted house so the resulting book will be balanced between his own skepticism and Thomas’s beliefs in the paranormal. But that’s not the only motive. A year ago, their friendship was broken, and Felix is desperate to repair the rift. Since the title of the actual book is Twelve Nights at R Felix has a feeling that his next nonfiction book, Thirteen Nights at Rotter House, is going to be the one to launch him into financial success. He invites his friend, Thomas, to join an investigation of this haunted house so the resulting book will be balanced between his own skepticism and Thomas’s beliefs in the paranormal. But that’s not the only motive. A year ago, their friendship was broken, and Felix is desperate to repair the rift. Since the title of the actual book is Twelve Nights at Rotter House, we know something is going to prevent Felix from reaching his final intended evening in the location, and that was the only thing that kept me reading the novel through to the end. Slow burns are one thing, but this book is more like watching a glacier melt, ending in a small calving. I don’t mind a slow burn approach to horror, but there needs to be a buildup of tension in the overall plot and insight into the characters. What disappointed me most was some of the passages, especially early on, were well written with unique perspectives and descriptions, however as the story continued there was a lot of repetition of phrases and actions. Layered with terrific atmosphere, the first two nights in Rotter House (ending with chapter seven) introduces the characters, describes the supremely creepy setting, and details some of the bizarre and horrific deaths of the home’s past. It produced that wonderful feeling of settling in for an intense ride. However, after the initial set up the novel stagnates until around the ninth night (chapter twenty-three). That’s not to say nothing happens in the story. Events do occur, like the use of a Ouija board, porcelain dolls seeming to have moved on their own, and disembodied screams piercing the night. The problem is the approach to the actions. For example, several times Felix says something like “If I were writing a piece of fiction, I wouldn’t dream of using the overused concept of [Ouija board, unexplained noises, a character as a ghost, etc.], but since this is nonfiction I will.” Having him make fun of tired horror motifs once or twice would feel natural coming from his skeptical stance, but the story relies on this response too often. Also, when something does happen, the characters discuss the occurrences to death, dissolving the tension. As for the character development, even though the story is told from Felix’s first-person perspective, very little is revealed about him. There’s ample room through the novel to dig deeper into his innermost thoughts and his past, to create a bond between the reader and character, and by not establishing this connection I was left in a state of apathy. This is one of those books where too much information is held back from the reader as an attempt to intensify the twist ending, but instead creates a void through the middle. *Disclaimer: I received a copy of this work by the author in exchange for an honest review. * **This review first appeared on http://kendallreviews.com/ **

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