I recall several stories for children where a short trip down a hidden alley led to a Alice door and a wonderland beyond. There was even a similar episode of The Avengers back in the ’60s. David Mitchell’s Slade House starts out with such magic possibilities. Several episodes where various people search for the entry to this enchanted house and garden lead to horrible results; but by now you’re hooked by Mitchell’s easy narrative style and read on.
Luckily Slade House is relatively short and an easy evening read but in the end the reader might feel ripped-off.
The occult explanations in this book are acceptable but somewhat cheesy and derivative. I read through to the end and decided Mitchell was trying to cash in on the inordinate popularity of Dan Brown, although Mitchell is a much better writer than Brown.
Slade House would make a good made-for-TV movie … or maybe an episode of Scooby-Do.