Former commercial Pilot Chip Linton and his wife Emily decide to move their family further away from the memories of Chip's horrific plane landing on Lake Champlain. Many people died and he is wracked with guilt. The Linton's, along with their twin daughters, move into a rambling Victorian house in a remote part of New Hampshire. Their neighbors seem polite and watchful of them and there is much for the family to do.
The twins begin to hear voices in the house. They can't see anyone but the voices are all around them. The Linton's find out more about the house and how it has been abandoned for many years after the suicide of the twelve year old son of the former owners. Chip Linton finds a small doorway in the basement that looks like it used to be the coal chute. However, it has 39 long bolts to seal it. The exact number of people who died in Chip's plane crash. He begins to unseal the bolts.
Chris Bohjalian creates wonderful well-rounded characters who are dealing with elements that they have never seen and never believed in. Chip begins to unravel and believes the voices. Emily, the Mother, knows that she has to save the twins, but from what? We have entered Stephen King territory.
Bohjalian does a great job of creating the suspenseful and spooky atmosphere that this book needs. Is this all happening in Chip's head? if not, what are the intentions of the townspeople? What really did happen in that house so many years ago? Read it to find out.