One Night in Drake Mansion by Channing Whitaker (Skeptic Detective #1)

one night in drake mansionOne Night in Drake Mansion
by Channing Whitaker


294 Pages

Book #1 in the Skeptic Detective Series

Published by Off Speed Press

Published on the 18th of June 2019 (First published Jan 1st 2015)

Purchase from | Amazon AU| Amazon US | Amazon UK|

My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and the author via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Drake Mansion has been shrouded in mystery for the past eighty years. After the family returned one night from a magic show, neither the Drake family nor the magician Malvern Kamrar were ever seen again. After an investigation was opened, and people died in the mansion, the investigation was abandoned and the mansion sealed up. Now, the mansion is being opened again, twenty years before it was supposed to be. A one night only, televised event where five contestants – A psychic, a ghost hunter, an actress, a local history buff, and a skeptic – are to stay in the mansion for twelve hours. Those still standing inside once sunrise hits will win a share of a million dollars. Told in alternating chapters of the present in the mansion, and the past of Vinton Drake, the patriarch of the Drake family, the mystery starts to unravel. Will the contestants be able to spend the whole night in Drake Mansion? And will they be able to uncover the truth that was sealed up eighty years ago?

This was actually a really refreshing haunted house ghost story. I’m an absolute sucker for a good haunting story and this one actually ended up pleasantly surprising me. At first, I wasn’t sure if I would like it, the opening was a little bit jarring as we were introduced to the players in the story, and at first, I thought that the man Walter, whom we first meet was the protagonist and skeptic detective of this series, I was wrong. The skeptic was the young man that was watching film of the disappeared magician’s shows. So bear with the jarring opening (it was a little jarring and stilted for me, and I’m not quite sure why to be honest) because trust me, it really does get better.

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for stories which occur over a period of one night. Take for example, House on Haunted Hill (the newest rendition with Geoffrey Rush), Saw II, and American Graffiti, so this one really appealed to me straight off the bat because of this. The main part of the story is set across twelve hours, and besides delving into the past as two characters read Vinton’s journal, it all happens in the one night. I’m not sure why I’ve always loved stories that are told in this way, I’m not sure if it’s because the sense of urgency is heightened due to the short time frame, or what it is. But it drew me in as soon as I read that, plus it’s a haunted house/ghost story and I just absolutely adore them.

What I particularly loved about this one was Harlan Holt – the skeptic. He brought such a refreshing angle to the ‘airy fairy’ ways of the paranormal and supernatural part of life. Don’t get me wrong, I am a believer, I believe that there are ghosts around and all that jazz, I’m spiritual I guess you could say, but even I find it hard to believe parts of this world. There are so many charlatans and airy fairies that either they honestly believe some of the tripe that comes out of their mouths, or they are just out to make a quick buck off an unsuspecting individual who is simply looking for guidance or closure. So i found Harlan’s character to be a breath of fresh bloody air. The other characters were great support characters, and I’m loving that Genevieve is appearing to be a recurring character in the series (I already have the ARC for book two and she is mentioned in the synopsis) I found that Vieve and Harlan were a great pair and work exceptionally well together.

The story itself was SO well written, thought out and executed. I actually had NO freaking idea what was going to happen. I had my thoughts and theories, but to be honest, I was just along for the crazy arse ride that was this book and I am so here for it. The mystery was absolutely riveting, the craziness that is uncovered about the lengths the Vinton went to get closure and answers from the magic show he attended was spine tingling and the revelation was just mind blowing for me. It honestly had me at the end of my seat and completely glued to the page. I don’t want to go into too much detail because I enjoyed finding everything out as we went along, rather than going into the story with any more information than what the synopsis gives.

All I can tell you is, I am absolutely looking forward to reading the second book and seeing what new adventures and trouble Harlan and Genevieve can get themselves into!! If you love a good haunted house/ghost story with a wonderful mystery thrown in, definitely give this one a go, it won’t disappoint.

View all my reviews

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