Ronald Malfi’s Floating Staircase was nominated for a 2012 Bram Stoker Award in the Best Novel category and for good reason. Ghost stories can be hard to pull off (I mean, they’ve all been told, right?). But somehow, Malfi manages to infuse his story with a tension and air of horror that is all too often missing in lesser novels.
Travis Glasgow is a writer (stories about writers are a sub-genre in themselves it seems) who’s seeking a new start with his wife, Jodie. What better place than Westlake, across the cul-de-sac from his brother? But Glasgow carries a secret—years before, he was responsible for his younger brother’s death. Perhaps it’s appropriate, then, that the home he has bought also has a dark story to tell—that of the son of the previous owners, a young boy who mysteriously disappeared in the lake, never to be found. And now, Glasgow is convinced that the same boy’s spirit haunts the house, seeking justice for his death.
Malfi is a genius when it comes to characterization. There’s really no other way to put it. The man doesn’t write his characters, he somehow brings them into the world. They are as real as you or I, and we live their struggles through Malfi’s books. And that is where the horror comes in. I’ve had more chill bumps from Malfi’s writing than every horror movie I’ve ever seen combined.
Malfi’s “Mourning House” was one of the best pieces of writing I have come across in years. With Floating Staircase, Malfi has officially become my favorite horror writer. I can’t wait to read more.