The Dark Side of the Window by J.N. Brown is a riveting psychological horror novel about a man in his sixties who loses his wife to cancer and then begins to see images of her in apparitions and nightmares. That’s not the scariest part though: she’s not appearing to terrify him, just come to warn him of something even more terrifying living right next door.
On the surface, The Dark Side of the Window is a fairly straight-forward ghost story. However, the premise of the novel is the springboard for a richly character-driven suspense novel. The book is written in a likable conversational style, which makes the protagonist, Mike Allen, seem like a real person. He’s not merely a foil to lead readers to the next scare. His voice is warm and inviting, so when the scares come, a reader feels some measure of empathy, as well as chills. This is what makes The Dark Side of the Window rise above cookie-cutter supernatural horror. The story is as much about a man losing his wife and the aftermath as it is a paranormal thriller.
Aside from some stumbles with clarity, and a cover that suggests generic thriller rather than paranormal, The Dark Side of the Window is a quick and engrossing read. If you like your horror novels in the Stephen King vein – character-driven but still horrific – the novel is a stellar addition to the genre.
Crystal City Horror