THE EMPTY ROOM by Sarah J. Clemens
Genre: Mystery / Romance
Date Published: July 23, 2016
My Rating: 4 Stars
Length: 212 Pages
Synopsis: Rain soaked and dreary, it was a 1901 abandoned Victorian that Dean and Elizabeth hoped would fulfill their dreams, even if the town of Eastbrook, Maine was trapped under a blanket of fog. The first neighbor they meet in town dashes those dreams when he raises a bizarre question: what happened to the last person who lived in their house? Under mounting pressure from the residents of Eastbrook to stop questioning the past, Dean and Elizabeth are driven deeper into the history of the house, and the town. When they discover what happened in Eastbrook, keeping the secret could save their lives, but uncovering the truth might be worth the risk.
A gripping psychological mystery, The Empty Room takes readers on a cat-and-mouse game where some secrets are better off hidden.
My Review: This is my first book by author Sarah J. Clemens, and it is also my first mystery book in a very long time – I used to love reading Agatha Christie & Mary Higgins Clark mysteries when I was a kid, but lately I haven’t been as into the genre as I once was. I think it’s mostly because I haven’t found a mystery to read that would intrigue me as much as they used to. So needless to say, I was skeptical about posting this review because I was already assuming that I would not like this book. However, that was certainly not the case with The Empty Room. The author had me enthralled from page one; I wanted to know what the big secret that the towns people knew & I wasn’t going to put the book down until I figured it out. I absolutely LOVE a good mystery that puts me on edge & has me guessing til the end; I thought I had figured out how this book was going to end – I was expecting XYZ but the author gave me 123.
I don’t want to give anything away – but I will say there was that definite curveball at the end. There was a hint that it was coming at about 80-85% of the way through and, even though I didn’t want to, I think I finished that last 15-20% the fastest I’ve ever finished a book. I thought the author’s writing style was amazing – she managed to capture the emotions & thoughts of the both Dean & his wife Elizabeth while keeping it in third person. She gave enough detail to make it feel like I was in the story, without being so detailed that it dragged the book. I will say, the pacing was a little slow in the beginning, but it seemed to pick up to a decent pace towards the middle & end of the book. This isn’t a very long book – I was able to read it in a day’s time, but the author managed to pack quite a bit of suspense & intrigue into these 212 pages. All in all, for my first *recent* mystery read I was very impressed.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah J. Clemens is the author of the debut mystery novel, The Empty Room. She started writing The Empty Room in 2008 and formed her own imprint in 2016 called Off the Page Publishing. She started out her professional career working as a news assistant for her local newspaper before finding a passion for the law and pursued an education in criminal justice. In addition to writing fiction, she is also a legal assistant with an Associate of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Human Services. Sarah was born in California and now lives and works in Boise, Idaho. She has the same sarcastic sense of humor as the characters in her books, and she has an unparalleled love for animals.