Two bonded partners, an inherited mansion, isolation, a history of disappearances and curiosity that won’t quit is a lot to pack into a short story. The author does a credible job building up the ambiance of both the mansion (citing nice architectural details) and immediate environs, including bringing in New Jersey’s history with the Underground Railroad.
The young men, Thane and Ian, confront clues that indicate a murderer might be loose in the area. When they discover hidden tunnels, it becomes clear they might be targets, but they refuse to be driven off. What they discover is stranger than fiction, and Thane should know as he is an actor whose recent roles set him up to accept what shouldn’t be possible.
Majors’ Folly is nominally a romance, but only loosely so. The young men, one of whom (Ian) is quite randy, are in a committed relationship but all scenes of affection occur behind closed doors. Rather than have tension and conflict revolve around the relationship, the author chooses to focus on the dangers facing them jointly. Each MC has a different reaction to the strange occurrences, but in the end, they present a united front.
The serial killer portion of the mystery works significantly better than the paranormal elements, despite efforts to convince the reader via allusions to popular culture (books, TV and cinema) that one’s suspension of disbelief was in good hands. This reader didn’t buy it, nor did I buy the variation on a theme that allowed the feel-good denouement (yes, being cagey, I hate spoilers too).
This book is written as if directed to a much younger audience (perchance gay teens?). The protagonists “read” young despite indications otherwise, and of course, they are referred to as “young men” on several occasions.
There is insufficient tension and true horror elements to rate that genre designation, but enough vanilla suspense of the “I wonder what happens next” variety it will keep you turning pages, but it may not keep you up at night. Nor does this fulfill the mandate to fit in the romance category (that’s on the publisher, not necessarily the author).
Overall, this reviewer appreciated a well-edited piece but wished for a little more pop to the story. It was average in every respect, though props for atmosphere and having a genuine beginning, middle and end—not all shorts manage that.
Thane Majors’ lover, Ian Philips, sees Majors’ Folly—the mansion Thane has inherited—as a ‘monstrosity’. Thane believes otherwise. To him it is fascinating, not monstrous. At least that’s what he hopes.
After the two learn of several disappearances from the Folly, they spot someone trying to break in and wonder if the person is responsible for the Folly’s troubles. Deciding they must find out exactly what is happening, the pair begin to delve into the house’s history to uncover the truth before they too disappear.
Will the arrival of two strange males offering their help to Thane and Ian lead to revelations about the disappearances… or to Thane and Ian’s untimely deaths?