In the common course of events, people choose houses. Sometimes, though, it doesn't work that way. Sometimes houses choose people: They reach out, they whisper, they entice and enfold.
Novelist Emma Roth was convinced that New York City was the only place to live, until the day she encountered the old Victorian mansion overlooking the Long Island Sound. Her husband, Roger, a chaos physicist, was entranced by the ever-changing convergence of land, water, and air; their son, Zack, by a backyard large enough for a real game of soccer. But for Emma, it was the octagonal tower library, whose panoramic view suggested a sort of omniscience no writer could resist.
Yet no sooner do they move into their dream house than the seemingly impossible occurs. Characters in a computer game address cruel personal remarks to Emma. Her manuscript is tampered with, her home invaded, her family threatened. Before long it is obvious that her tormentor not only has access to her home and her computer's hard drive, but also to her innermost thoughts, secrets, and fears. Hers is an intimate enemy, both vicious and elusive.
Because these things happen only when Emma is alone in the house, she is driven to question her own sanity. Could Roger be right when he hints that it's all in her head? Local rumor has it that the house is haunted, but Emma, a writer of ghost stories herself, no more believes in real ghosts than professional magicians believe in magic. As the trespasses into her life grow more bizarre and more dangerous, suspicion is cast in ever-widening arcs, until Emma is left to question every relationship she has, including her marriage.
Suspicion is an irresistible and addictively compelling tale about a woman who is both haunted and hunted.
"Sometimes houses choose people," writes Rogan in her sixth novel (A Heartbeat Away), thus setting the mood for a contemporary ghost story. Novelist Emma Roth, who specializes in tales of the supernatural, has mixed feelings when her physicist husband decides that they and their 10-year-old son, Zack, should move from Manhattan to Long Island's Morgan Peak, where they buy the isolated former home of an elderly schoolteacher rumored to have murdered her husband. Emma's sister Maggie provides caustic commentary and good-natured teasing for what she perceives is her sister's quintessentially yuppie move to the country. Other key figures include Caroline, a psychologist who rents the carriage house on the premises; Nick, Zack's soccer coach; and Yolanda, a most unconventional soccer mom. Soon, however, Emma is terrorized by an escalating series of domestic and supernatural disturbances--including eerie personal messages on her computer. It's not clear until the right moment whether Emma's own secrets are haunting her, or whether a technologically savvy ghost is trying to drive her mad. The third possibility is worse: someone close to her wants her to die. As Emma is forced to reevaluate each of her companions, she must also reconsider her skeptical view of ghosts. It takes Emma too long to figure things out, and Rogan employs a trite device to stage the novel's ending. Otherwise, this absorbing tale is artfully told, with cleverly integrated subplots addressing marital fidelity and class anxiety; rising suspense and vividly nuanced characters who come alive through snappy, irreverent dialogue.