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Sunday, March 27, 2016

(31)All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage

George Clare and his young wife Catherine have bought the perfect farmhouse and moved to the picturesque community of Chosen, New York.  George has taken as job as a Art History Professor at the local college while Catherine stays home with their young daughter, Franny.  The solitude of the farm has only magnified the problems of their marriage. George loses himself in his work and young coeds.  Catherine finds solace in a friendship with one of the young men who used to live in their home.  Until one day George arrives home from work to find that Catherine has been brutally murdered.  George is the prime suspect, but his family gets him and Franny out of there before the small town police can find enough evidence to arrest him.  The murder goes unsolved and the house stands empty.  Decades have passed and the farmhouse has finally sold.  Franny returns to the farmhouse to clear it out and face the demons of her past.  Will she be able reconcile her past and find out who killed her mother?

All Things Cease to Appear is part mystery and part ghost story and completely engrossing.   The farmhouse where George and Catherine moved to in Chosen had a dark history. As the reader, you are given all of the details of the home's history and it is very dark.  The darkness creeped into Catherine and the ghosts of the house soon were her only companions.  Catherine was the kind of woman that everybody liked and George, well George was a complete psychopath.  He gave the heebie-jeebies to most every  grown woman he encountered.   The story mostly takes place during the time that George and Catherine lived in the house, but you do find out how they met and how Catherine came to be pregnant and how they came to Chosen.  You are also well aware of George's psychopathic tendencies and the first time he really exhibits those tendencies it shocks you, because up to that point he was just a jerk, but the shock only adds to the reader's involvement in the story.  You aren't sure if those tendencies are what killed his wife, but you have your suspicions.  The author gives you enough information to speculate, but not enough for you to be sure.  It truly leaves the reader on the edge of their seat.  You are left wondering right up until the last few pages of the book, but then there is no doubt as to who killed Catherine.

Bottom line - All Things Cease to Appear is one of those Gothic novels that will haunt you. Mystery, suspense, and a haunted house.  You can't get better than that in an afternoon read.