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314 Crescent Manor by M. Jones

 

Welcome to Crescent Manor. Where the rent is cheap and your neighbours are dead to the world.—The Landlord

Mark and Nathan Connor are twins, but in name only. There is little to connect them, save their current residence in Crescent Manor, an old building situated in the centre of a mid-sized city.

They are unaware the tenants of Crescent Manor are never housed at random. With its large, brooding stained glass tree bearing down on them from the fourth floor down to the first, it watches, and waits for one world to topple angrily into the next.


A pdf novel, no longer online

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Listed: Dec 8, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

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eerie and atmospheric

By A. M. Harte, editor, author of Theatre of Horrors

Jan 9, 2010: [May 4 2010. Note: I reviewed this story when there was only 10 episodes up. Now that Season 1 has drawn to a close at 34 episodes, I thought to update my original review to reflect the story as a whole.]

As is the case with many character-driven stories, 314 Crescent Manor starts off a little slow, but it picks up speed quite nicely and keeps you on tenterhooks for more. The plot is compelling, the characters—to match their dark surroundings—all have a torrid history of their own. And all of them are drawn to 314 Crescent Manor and to each other.

While the first couple of episodes set the tone for Nathan and Mark’s awkward sibling relationship, I wasn’t properly pulled into the story until The Event (Episode 4), when things take a bizarre twist down the rabbit hole. And it is then that M. Jones’ atmospheric story-telling really starts to shine. The sense of parallel or alternate worlds, the lurking evil, and the growing mystery all combine together into an almost Silent Hill-esque setting which promises more questions than answers . . . and that’s exactly what it delivers.

The episodes jump mostly between Mark and Nathan’s point of view, and detail their parallel experiences of The Event and their attempts to understand the supernatural forces at work. Both points of view are well-written and distinctive, although perhaps it would be clearer if the author marked at the top of each episode what point of view it is in.

The writing is description-heavy, often times eerie. For my tastes, it is a little too verbose at times, but the overall quality is extremely solid. M Jones doesn’t shy away from describing the gruesome details, which really brings to life the horror elements of the story, but she also knows when to step back and let the events speak for themselves.

Both plot and characterization are strong, the latter particularly so; I have a very clear impression of not just Mark and Nathan, but all of the characters. M Jones does a perfect job capturing the changing dynamics between the tenants caused by The Event, and I particularly enjoyed witnessing Mark and Nathan’s love interests.

As for the website, it is a classic wordpress theme, and very easy to navigate. There is a lot of additional information to browse, including detailed character bios (although I recommend reading these after reading the first five episodes, unless you don’t mind spoilers).

For the most part, the layout is clear, uncluttered; pleasing to the eye. I particularly like how each episode has an accompanying image, although perhaps a couple of the images are a little too big. I’m not, however, a fan of adjusted text, but it’s only a minor complaint.

Season 1 draws to a close with The Event and its underlying mysteries partially resolved, but there are just enough dark hints to leave room for a sequel, and I look forward to reading more about Mark, Nathan, and the other tenants of 314 Crescent Manor.

IN SUM: an refreshingly eerie serial that gets stronger with every episode. Definitely one to read.

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Editor’s First Impression

By Linda Schoales, editor

Dec 8, 2009: Currently there’s only 2 episodes posted but there are also pages of information about the characters and setting. The premise sounds interesting and the writing is solid so far.

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Most Helpful Member Reviews

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Deliciously bizarre

By tenaciousN, author of Strange Little Band

Jun 21, 2010: I’ve been a fan of Jones’ writing for a few years now. Her work is full of black comedy, suspense, memorable characters, and palpable atmosphere. 314 Crescent Manor is no exception.

Mark and Nathan Connor are estranged fraternal twins drifting through life. They know that something’s wrong, but can’t put their finger on what until The Event happens at Crescent Manor. Even after the supernatural (or quantum physics-related, depending on your point of view) Event turns their lives upside down, the [more . . .]

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A story you can relate to… until it gets weird

By Tim Holtorf, author of Rocket Fox

May 7, 2010: This was a very inviting story for me, because in a way, at the beginning, it reminded me of life when I had that dream job. The new place I lived in and the new people I lived next to. In the story, that was no different.

Or course, in the story, things really got weird (my own comparison to my dream job never went this way, and maybe that’s a good thing). When The Event occurs, the fun starts.

[more . . .]

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