4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2002
Not the typical haunted house story with lingering ghosts of past residents, the ghosts in Stehle's Door can relocate causing bad dreams, having grotesque manifestations, and worse. A chilling, compelling story of two adolescents who fight the unpredictable with risk and determination. The movement to another realm appealed to me as in The Sixth Sense and I liked the confiding between kids which was reminiscent of the book The Other.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2005
The book begins with the death of an old man, Stehle, by drowning. However this drowning takes place in the first floor of a house, and the reader realizes immediately that he is onto something horrifying. He is right: Everything is not as it seems in the novel. And the feeling escalates as horror upon horror is perpetuated throughout the novel.
The story deals with a packet of letters that the siblings of old man, Stehle, Alex and Pauli, buy at a flea market. These letters were purportedly written during the Civil War and should be of more interest to historians than to the supernatural-minded. However the letters are not ordinary letters but actually portals to a world of ghosts and evil spirits. It does not take the siblings long to realize this, and they set out to stop the evil coming out. To do this they decide to burn the letters; however, the packet has disappeared by that time. Realizing that similar portals are present elsewhere in the world, they set off to destroy them. But this adventure is a lot more dangerous than what they bargained for. So do they succeed in their mission?
William M. O'Brien Jr., for a first time novelist, succeeds in creating an atmosphere of foreboding and horror. With the characterization of two teenagers as protagonists, the story reminds one of horror cult classic films like "The Blair Witch Project" and "Jeepers Creepers". A must read for not only horror fiction fans, but also for those interested in thrillers.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2003
Stehle's Door begins with the demise of old man Stehle--and then proceeds to tell you how and why it happened.
This novel combines authentic Civil War history with a present-day setting in Galveston, Texas, with loads of real-life landmarks, helping to give the fictional story a true-to-life feel.
The main characters are teenagers, so this book might appeal to that age group, as well as to adults. Mr. O'Brien has a very readable style of writing, which enables the reader to move at a steady pace through the novel without bogging down.
The climax has an interesting twist--not all is as it seems to be. Enjoy.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2003
I'm usually not a fan of horror novels, but this one was very enjoyable. After I would read a few chapters, the slightest sound would make me jump. That is how scared I was. My english teacher is an excellent writer.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2013
If you love Stephen King this book is even more scary than any King ever wrote. What's really unique in this book is the fact that children are the main characters. A sister and a brother fight against the paranormal activity virtually alone getting very little help from their parents. I couldn't stop turning the pages because I had to see what those two would be battling next. William O'Brien makes those kids so real that I found myself feeling like I knew them so well that I was afraid for them and wanted to protect them myself. The storyline is so unique and I won't tell you about it because I want you to be surprised as you read the book. It is true, as one other mentioned here, that as you read this book any noise will make you jump. I experienced that myself. I know some people think that these types of books only appeal to guys but William has made me, a gal, a fan because he played into my maternal instinct to feel for these kids. But guys are going to love it as well.
I'm a true fan of William O'Brien Jr.
on June 25, 2013
After reading "Stehle's Door," I'll think twice before buying an antique item. What if the item still carries the essence of the person who originally owned it, or worse, opens a cosmic door which allows not so friendly spirits to enter this dimension? That's exactly what happened to teenaged Paul Zunker when he bought a packet of Civil War era letters from an itinerant dealer at a flea market. His delight in his purchase at an incredibly low price was soon erased as horrifying events began to occur in his home, which affected his older sister, Alexandra, and his entire family.
Some people might find the relationships and dialogue between the children and the parents, especially the father, unrealistic in the 21st century, however, I found that to be completely understandable since the father, Thomas, was a first generation American. As a Lutheran, I can see that the values modeled by the family are consistent with strict Lutheran families that I know.
Although there are some editing errors in this Kindle edition, they did not detract from the story or my enjoyment of the book.
on May 26, 2015
"Stehle's Door" had a significant impact on me because of a particular location in Tennessee. I had a frightful experience of my own in the same location. Mr. O'Brien's account rekindled that time. The entire storyline held my interest and shook my memory at the end. He wrote a believable fiction thriller. This story is for young and old alike, who are intrigued with the supernatural, antique artifacts, creepy buildings, fascinating characters, youthful minds, and outright frightful beings! I detected a detail for a sequel. Yay!
on March 16, 2013
One of those books you hate to put down once you have started reading. My only complaint regarded the use of what I felt was objectionable language in some instances. I felt it was not entirely necessary and could have been rephrased and still get the point across.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2003
I did not put this book down until I was so scared that I couldn't take anymore. This is an exceptional novel and will capture your attention until the final sentence. This is one of the best novels I have ever read. I finished the book three days ago and am still scared to sleep. I can't wait for another novel by O'Brien.