The Mansion tells the story of two estranged friends who return to the place where their friendship fell apart. Shawn Eagle is impossibly rich in large part due to the programming and computer engineering he and Billy Stafford designed after college. Billy, having taken Shawn’s girlfriend years earlier causing their friendship to end, is down on his luck and alcoholic. Emily has now married him but is frustrated at their life.
Shawn offers Billy a way back into the business and enough money to keep them comfortable for four lifetimes. Their original program, A.I. that they abandoned to work on other technology, had finally come close to completion. The hitch – the software does not work properly. Shawn needs Billy to work his magic in the code to make it work.
The two men return to Shawn’s inherited mansion which he has been updating to include a “smart” system in which the A.I. will run the house for you and anticipate your every need. Shawn leaves Emily and Billy alone in the house so Billy can work. Soon, though, Billy and Emily realize that the house, haunted by the ghosts of their past as well as the pernicious A.I., will be their undoing if they don’t leave.
This story is equal parts ghost story and a cautionary tale of trusting too much of your life in your technology. It is vivid in its horror. Tragic in its honesty about the imperfections of the characters. Bitter are the relationships that never truly mended themselves.
I couldn’t put this novel down. It is a quick read, like an episode of Black Mirror that seemed far too short but all the better for it not being longer. I’m a huge fan of Ezekiel Boone, and I sincerely hope that we get this novel made into a horror movie, because what a movie it would be.