Paul’s wife has been the center of his family’s life. While his work has driven him, she has held the family together. When she dies, Paul struggles to find the right rhythm for the family. While he is still reeling from the loss, he faces an unimaginable threat: a demon who keeps his wife from moving on to the next world torments him. To release his wife, Paul must unravel the mystery that ties him to the old haunted mansion called Stillwell, a mystery that has endured for hundreds of years. But does he have what it takes to face what is coming for him?
Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island by Michael Phillip Cash is a well-crafted story with solid themes of loss, family, love, suicide, revenge, and the protagonist's journey to free his wife from a supernatural spell. The author writes clear and engaging family dynamics, a skill that catches the reader's interest right off the bat; the relationships, both physical and supernatural, are wondrously crafted. Allison has a deep impact on Paul, and it is interesting to notice the discipline she brings into his life, which is why he can only smoke at work, away from her. The interactions among the children are written into real situations, and the author has this uncanny ability to bring out powerful emotions in the characters. The imagery is strong and from the start of the story, the reader is piqued by the image of the cold house with the dank smell of the unused, perhaps a reflection of what the protagonist feels in his heart.
The characters are elaborately written, from Paul to Allison, to John Wendover, who has been in the tomb for years. The conflict is deftly handled and it escalates steadily, engulfing the characters on a journey that goes beyond the physical. The author breathes life into seemingly simple characters and puts them through a test that is larger-than-life. The final moments are as engrossing as any denouement that follows a well-developed conflict should be, emotionally engaging, and explorative of a spiritual reality that will excite the imagination of readers. Michael Phillip Cash succeeds at creating a world that is real and that absorbs readers in an irresistible manner.