As soon as I have had this book in my hands and I have read the first chapters, I sniffed the scent of high literature. Rather, this is not the brightest example of high literature, this is a real masterpiece and I’ll explain this in my review. I am discussing about The Ostermann House, the mystery thriller written by American author John R. Klein. Why is this novel a literary masterpiece? Because it is written in accordance with the rules of the perfect suspense novel. It is not a horror novel, but a thriller book that could be a horror tale, seen that it contains several supernatural clues in the plot.
In fact, the book tells about a couple of professors at the University, in Houston, Texas (just the place recently hit by a disastrous hurricane) who, in order to escape their challeging job at the university, decided to buy a house at the silent and apparently relaxing countryside in Krivac, a small town at a short distance from Houston. They are Michael and Audrey Felton, a very normal couple of normal people loving nature and the stillness of the American countryside. In the book, you can see suspense on every page, also from the first pages, just when the main characters are committed to listen to their real estate agent Ted Zelinski.
The latter is the typical seller who is capable to sell everything to make a bit of money, even a cursed house! This personage offers to Michael and Audrey the bargain of the century, an (apparently) comfortable old property in Krivac, in the fabulous countryside in Texas, at the cheapest price of the world! Michael and Audrey, as we can image, accept the bargain and from this moment they will be dragged to a supernatural world made of strange noises and lights and intruders who break the windows of the house (that they bought to relax) and ominous messengers who leave letters and messages on the PC screen of Michael with a strange word: “Locus”. That is a Latin and Greek word with several meanings.
The couple fears to be finished in a bad deal, maybe the worst deal of their life, where the clear message is “ never to buy too cheap houses because they could hide awful and murky secrets”. However, the concerns of Michael and Audrey Felton don’t relate only to the house, but even to people in the village, starting from the first person that Michael meets during the first visit to the house, namely Charlie Blacek , an old keeper of the house, inhabited, in the past, by the previous owners Herman and Louise Ostermann . This man is one among the many ones in the village who try to persuade Michael to leave the home. The Second is the local cop Jack Rainey, who seems to help Michael, at the beginning of the story, but who seems to support the villagers as the story proceeds. Is the cop a friend or an enemy?
Michael does not trust him, he does not trust none in the rural village of Krivac, not even the previous owners of the house, Louise and Hermann Ostermann. The latter was a former nuclear engineer alleged to have conducted control mind experiments in the past. During his permanence at the Ostermann house, Michael also finds out strange metal objects called nonagrams, with nine rays and symbols engraved. The most sinister parts of the house are the barn and the basement with the wine cellar, where the main character finds the first nonagram, one of these rooms has been found locked from inside, a day, while Michael was out of it!
In short, the plot of this book is really wonderful! It is also enriched with many supernatural twists, some of them, absolutely extraordinary, such as the symbol of the number nine, the same that Michael saw in the nonagrams. He shows one of them to a colleague and the latter explains him that if you try to multiply any number for nine and then you sum the result, you always get nine! This is one of the many surprising twists of the book, there are many of these twists, perfectly intertwined to create a more and more growing suspense that brings this novel onto the podium of the best books of our century.
With The Ostermann House, John Klein defeated the fame of Dan Brown and Wilbur Smith. For this reason, I invite Italian publishers to buy the translation rights of the book and release the Italian edition. I also invite movie producers, such as Metro Goldwyn Mayer and 20th Century Fox, to make a movie from this really awesome and great novel! It would be a pity to not do that!
I swear that if I could, I would scream all the beauty of this novel all over the world. At the moment, I can only give my rating, five stars, absolutely. You did a great job, Mr. Klein and gave us an unforgettable masterpiece of great American literature.