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Circling the Drain

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Is it a hoax, or is it something unspeakably real? In this short story about evil games and spiraling secrets, whatever bargain you strike, there's a price to be paid. Mason Brandt dropped out of seminary and found a job at a spiritual center offering guidance to troubled teens. Mason was on himself years ago - a suspect in a young girl's disappearance. When a female studen Is it a hoax, or is it something unspeakably real? In this short story about evil games and spiraling secrets, whatever bargain you strike, there's a price to be paid. Mason Brandt dropped out of seminary and found a job at a spiritual center offering guidance to troubled teens. Mason was on himself years ago - a suspect in a young girl's disappearance. When a female student is found murdered. Mason is dogged by suspicion and flees. He hopes Merle House will offer him sanctuary once again. Circling the Drain is part of House of Crows, a four-part serial about friends with a shared history of darkness. They've spent their lives running, but they can no longer hide from the past. Each story can be read or listened to in a single haunted sitting.


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Is it a hoax, or is it something unspeakably real? In this short story about evil games and spiraling secrets, whatever bargain you strike, there's a price to be paid. Mason Brandt dropped out of seminary and found a job at a spiritual center offering guidance to troubled teens. Mason was on himself years ago - a suspect in a young girl's disappearance. When a female studen Is it a hoax, or is it something unspeakably real? In this short story about evil games and spiraling secrets, whatever bargain you strike, there's a price to be paid. Mason Brandt dropped out of seminary and found a job at a spiritual center offering guidance to troubled teens. Mason was on himself years ago - a suspect in a young girl's disappearance. When a female student is found murdered. Mason is dogged by suspicion and flees. He hopes Merle House will offer him sanctuary once again. Circling the Drain is part of House of Crows, a four-part serial about friends with a shared history of darkness. They've spent their lives running, but they can no longer hide from the past. Each story can be read or listened to in a single haunted sitting.

30 review for Circling the Drain

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    Another enjoyable short story from the four-book serial “House of Crows”. In this one, we learn more about Mason, who was a suspect in a young girl’s disappearance years ago. Now he is offering guidance to teens at the Celebration Spiritual Center. Then things start to go wrong… I’m really enjoying this series. They are all connected, so it’s best to read them in order. I look forward to reading the next story, which is the conclusion of the series, “Love the Way You Lie”.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    CIRCLING THE DRAIN is part of House of Crows, book 3 in a four-part novella/short story serial by Lisa Unger. This serial is about friends with a shared history of darkness. They’ve spent their lives running, but they can no longer hide from the past. Each story can be read or listened to in a single haunted sitting. All four books in the series need to be read in order. The House of Crows Series Includes: All My Darkest Impulses (Book1) Fog Descending (Book2) Circling The Drain (Book3) Love The Way CIRCLING THE DRAIN is part of House of Crows, book 3 in a four-part novella/short story serial by Lisa Unger. This serial is about friends with a shared history of darkness. They’ve spent their lives running, but they can no longer hide from the past. Each story can be read or listened to in a single haunted sitting. All four books in the series need to be read in order. The House of Crows Series Includes: All My Darkest Impulses (Book1) Fog Descending (Book2) Circling The Drain (Book3) Love The Way You Lie (Book4) The House of Crows Series appears to be one long story broken down into four parts. In this third part we see there is a price to be paid for the bargains you strike. Mason Brandt dropped out of seminary and found a job at a spiritual center offering guidance to troubled teens. When Mason was sixteen, and visiting Merle Manor, a young girl disappeared and was never found. Mason became a prime suspect. Mason finds himself a suspect in a young girl's disappearance. When a female student is found murdered… Mason becomes a suspect and flees. But Mason knows he is accountable… his bargain to the Dark Man. Mason hopes Merle House will offer him sanctuary once again. Once again this is another well-written short story only 60 pages but packed a punch. Creepy with engaging characters and lots of twists and turns ending with another cliffhanger. Now on to book 4 to complete the journey.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Linda Strong

    Circling The Drain is part of House of Crows, a four-part serial about friends with a shared history of darkness. They’ve spent their lives running, but they can no longer hide from the past. Each story can be read or listened to in a single haunted sitting. Mason Brant is working at a spiritual center offering guidance to troubled teens. He, himself, had been a troubled teen. The summer he was 16, and visiting Merle Manor, a young girl disappeared and was never found. Mason was the prime suspect Circling The Drain is part of House of Crows, a four-part serial about friends with a shared history of darkness. They’ve spent their lives running, but they can no longer hide from the past. Each story can be read or listened to in a single haunted sitting. Mason Brant is working at a spiritual center offering guidance to troubled teens. He, himself, had been a troubled teen. The summer he was 16, and visiting Merle Manor, a young girl disappeared and was never found. Mason was the prime suspect for awhile. It seems as though history is repeating itself. A female student stops Mason as he's leaving, tells a story about being stalked by an ex-boyfriend. She's afraid to walk home so Mason drives her home and makes sure she gets inside. That wasn't the last he saw of her, but he's not telling the police anything... even after he's show pictures of her young, tortured body. Mason knows he's responsible .... his debt to the Dark Man is now owing. As with the first two short stories in this series, it is well written. The secrets that have been buried for so long are starting to unravel. Bit by bit the reader learns what happened ... or did it? Looking forward to the conclusion.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Obsidian

    The entire short story collection was great. I don’t know why this wasn’t just published as an Amazon original story, but maybe because it would have been too long. I liked the characters and the question of whether the Dark Man was real or not. The ending of the book though leaves a question of whether time can heal things or not. I did have to say that the character of Samantha left me with some questions though. Review for story 3: This one at it's core follows more of Mason. We still get the The entire short story collection was great. I don’t know why this wasn’t just published as an Amazon original story, but maybe because it would have been too long. I liked the characters and the question of whether the Dark Man was real or not. The ending of the book though leaves a question of whether time can heal things or not. I did have to say that the character of Samantha left me with some questions though. Review for story 3: This one at it's core follows more of Mason. We still get the other characters, but we get to see Mason as an adult and as a teen. And we find out what if anything he had to do with a young girl who disappeared decades earlier.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Loosely inspired by Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, HOUSE OF CROWS is about four adult friends who all share a common dark, unexplained event in their past. They’ve moved on and away from the town where they grew up. But in many ways the experience has formed each of them. Each has chosen a career that has allowed him or her to explore in various ways things that can’t be explained. Now a psychiatrist, a ghost hunter, a spiritual counselor, and a writer respectively, Claire, Ian, M Loosely inspired by Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, HOUSE OF CROWS is about four adult friends who all share a common dark, unexplained event in their past. They’ve moved on and away from the town where they grew up. But in many ways the experience has formed each of them. Each has chosen a career that has allowed him or her to explore in various ways things that can’t be explained. Now a psychiatrist, a ghost hunter, a spiritual counselor, and a writer respectively, Claire, Ian, Mason, and Matthew are being called back to pay debts and address some unfinished business. What they find when they arrive at Merle House will depend very much on what they bring. Hope you love it! P.S. Of course I gave it 5 stars! I wrote it!! ;)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Missy

    The story is tying together. Who is the Dark Man? Is he real or an internet hoax? Why does the Dark Man keep coming back to Havenwood? What bill is due? So many questions... I hope it's all laid out in the last installment! The story is tying together. Who is the Dark Man? Is he real or an internet hoax? Why does the Dark Man keep coming back to Havenwood? What bill is due? So many questions... I hope it's all laid out in the last installment!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Hanes

    I could not turn the pages fast enough! Book three of the House of Crows anthology is so intense! I can’t wait to jump into book four because I need to find out all about Mason’s story. The character buildup is phenomenal in these books!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Redder

    Very good!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    These short stories are part of the House of Crows series. They can’t stand alone and need to be read in sequence. Looking forward to the final one.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)

    **same review for all 4 stories** All I have done since I woke up this morning is read this series. Sigh, I just love Lisa Unger. We get this very atmospheric and creepy vibe in part #1, followed by a bit of levity layered with suspense and Slender Man vibes but with the Dark Man in part #2, ouija boards and chilly games in part #3, ending with revelations wonder in part #4. You want it, you've got it! I love how quick each read was and how I felt like I was going backwards and forwards at the sam **same review for all 4 stories** All I have done since I woke up this morning is read this series. Sigh, I just love Lisa Unger. We get this very atmospheric and creepy vibe in part #1, followed by a bit of levity layered with suspense and Slender Man vibes but with the Dark Man in part #2, ouija boards and chilly games in part #3, ending with revelations wonder in part #4. You want it, you've got it! I love how quick each read was and how I felt like I was going backwards and forwards at the same time... which I know sounds weird but it's delicious fun. I just could NOT STOP. I really can't way much without spoiling things but this is quite the ride. Not only was there this.... nope, can't say that.... hmm. I really loved that... Nope, can't say that either. Y'all! This is hard. Ok, Unger, as you know (and if you don't - go remedy that immediately), is AMAZING at setting the very creepy and suspenseful atmosphere that lends to the perfect read for this rainy, gloomy day. Talk about mood setting (thanks Nature!). Drawing readers in immediately and keeping them wondering - you'll have a lot of fun with this one. Just remember, you can't hide from the past forever and sometime evil just needs an excuse to show face... so be careful out there, readers. Caw caw.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Merry

    Part 3 of Lisa Unger's series, we continue to follow the lives of the four friends whose lives have all turned out differently than they ever expected. Lisa's synopsis: Is it a hoax, or is it something unspeakably real? In this short story about evil games and spiraling secrets, whatever bargain you strike, there’s a price to be paid. Mason Brandt dropped out of seminary and found a job at a spiritual center offering guidance to troubled teens. Mason was one himself years ago—a suspect in a young Part 3 of Lisa Unger's series, we continue to follow the lives of the four friends whose lives have all turned out differently than they ever expected. Lisa's synopsis: Is it a hoax, or is it something unspeakably real? In this short story about evil games and spiraling secrets, whatever bargain you strike, there’s a price to be paid. Mason Brandt dropped out of seminary and found a job at a spiritual center offering guidance to troubled teens. Mason was one himself years ago—a suspect in a young girl’s disappearance. When a female student is found murdered, Mason is dogged by suspicion and flees. He hopes Merle House will offer him sanctuary once again.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kai Van

    CW: casual ableism these are getting better as they go but since they're released as 4 separate things (when they read basically like 4 parts to one book), I'm rating them based on how they are on their own. not horrible, not great, seems to be ramping up. still laughing a bit at the obvious slenderman influence. at least each part counts as a separate book towards my goal for the year? 😹 CW: casual ableism these are getting better as they go but since they're released as 4 separate things (when they read basically like 4 parts to one book), I'm rating them based on how they are on their own. not horrible, not great, seems to be ramping up. still laughing a bit at the obvious slenderman influence. at least each part counts as a separate book towards my goal for the year? 😹

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dawn McGill Dalrymple

    Part 3 Finished this one in one evening, I must know what is going on with the Dark Man on to the final book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Things are coming to a head. Still hard to put down. I haven't got a clue as to what happened. Matthew,Claire,Ian and Mason , each has gone their own way but it looks like someone is going to have to pay the debt. Things are coming to a head. Still hard to put down. I haven't got a clue as to what happened. Matthew,Claire,Ian and Mason , each has gone their own way but it looks like someone is going to have to pay the debt.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christine Rennie

    Circling the drain (house of Crows Book 3) Circling the Drain by Lisa Unger is book 3 of the House of Crows series and each short stories gets creepier and more sinister.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Angel White (Certified_Book_Nerd)

    This is seriously a great way to get through a work morning. Such an interesting story and enjoyable narrators.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chris Plambeck

    Lisa Keeps the tension high, continuing to examine the troubled foursome's adult lives, and we get further and further into the time they spent as kids at Merle House. Those idyllic summers that may or may not have been. At least for some. We see that the author's story is, well, circling that deep, dark hole in the center of everything. It may go somewhere that we might not want to go, but we follow Lisa and the foursome, ever closer, as it seems something wants them, and us, to come back. In t Lisa Keeps the tension high, continuing to examine the troubled foursome's adult lives, and we get further and further into the time they spent as kids at Merle House. Those idyllic summers that may or may not have been. At least for some. We see that the author's story is, well, circling that deep, dark hole in the center of everything. It may go somewhere that we might not want to go, but we follow Lisa and the foursome, ever closer, as it seems something wants them, and us, to come back. In their narrowing gyres, come closer, and closer, even as they deny some truths, and learn some that cannot be denied, as the memories that haunt them as children and adults come home.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Elusive

    'Circling the Drain' brings us to Mason who now lends an ear to troubled teens. With a history of getting into a pinch, he is reminded of the Dark Man and wary when one of them seeks his help. The mystery of Amelia March's disappearance deepened, owing to the pool of suspects and revelation of more details. Mason had been seen following her home from work, hence making him a strong suspect. As before, the Dark Man piqued my interest all the way through and left me wondering whether he was real or 'Circling the Drain' brings us to Mason who now lends an ear to troubled teens. With a history of getting into a pinch, he is reminded of the Dark Man and wary when one of them seeks his help. The mystery of Amelia March's disappearance deepened, owing to the pool of suspects and revelation of more details. Mason had been seen following her home from work, hence making him a strong suspect. As before, the Dark Man piqued my interest all the way through and left me wondering whether he was real or merely a spooky urban legend. Overall, 'Circling the Drain' divulged some more while still holding back the answers to my burning questions.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Feyerbend

    This collection of four short stories came together to tell the story of a group of childhood friends forever changed by events that happened when they were sixteen. When Matthew inherits his grandfather’s mansion, he and his wife return to fix the place up to sell. Memories resurface, and his sixteen-year-old daughter starts having run-ins with the ghost of a teenage girl who went missing all those years ago.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Once again, Lisa Unger gives us something we start and can't put down until we finish. There are four stories that make up the House of Crows series. The first part will suck you in and will hold on to you until the last page of Love the Way You Lie. If you are looking for a fast read that is somewhat creepy with a haunted house and people disappearing, don't miss this series. Once again, Lisa Unger gives us something we start and can't put down until we finish. There are four stories that make up the House of Crows series. The first part will suck you in and will hold on to you until the last page of Love the Way You Lie. If you are looking for a fast read that is somewhat creepy with a haunted house and people disappearing, don't miss this series.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Lamont

    Same Review For All Four Parts Of This Series Boy, am I glad I took another chance on Lisa Unger or what? This was _such_ a good trashy horror book (and, yes, that's how the four works should be consumed, as one book, preferably in one sitting). Trash, trash, trashity trash! Mid 1970s supernatural psychological horror trash, some of the best kind! Same Review For All Four Parts Of This Series Boy, am I glad I took another chance on Lisa Unger or what? This was _such_ a good trashy horror book (and, yes, that's how the four works should be consumed, as one book, preferably in one sitting). Trash, trash, trashity trash! Mid 1970s supernatural psychological horror trash, some of the best kind!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rachelle

    Teeter tottering on supernatural and suspense, this series was fast paced and engaging! It did jump back and forth from past to present often and it wasn't the easiest to follow, but I did pick up on it after a moment. I listened to this on Audible and thought the narrators did well! I'm also not entirely sure why it's broken up into four books when there were clearly cliffhangers and an unresolved storyline on the previous three books. I wish it would've been sold as one book. Teeter tottering on supernatural and suspense, this series was fast paced and engaging! It did jump back and forth from past to present often and it wasn't the easiest to follow, but I did pick up on it after a moment. I listened to this on Audible and thought the narrators did well! I'm also not entirely sure why it's broken up into four books when there were clearly cliffhangers and an unresolved storyline on the previous three books. I wish it would've been sold as one book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    Matthew story continues to make us wonder who he really is. But in this 3rd short story we also get to know Mason, the last of the 4 summer friends for us to learn more about. Mason’s difficult childhood makes him appear to be the greatest suspect. His experiences are darker and more twisted than the others. But is he as evil as everyone suspects or is he just a lost little boy who grew up in a bad situation and has never been given a fair chance?

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ramona Payne

    Once again this book dud not disappoint its such a great book not a very long read so you can read it in one sitting because believe me you won't want to stop reading it once you start. Its thrilling and exciting and leaves you wanting more. Once again this book dud not disappoint its such a great book not a very long read so you can read it in one sitting because believe me you won't want to stop reading it once you start. Its thrilling and exciting and leaves you wanting more.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    The tension is mounting! In the third installment, the tension is mounting as the four childhood friends are due to be reunited in the Merle House. The secrets and lies are coming to a head as the final chapter approaches. Excellent series so far!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Betsyzel

    Part three is as good as the first two parts This is part three of four. Enjoyed all three I’ve read. I’m headed to part four next. (I’m not sure why this came out in four parts: it seems to me it would have been a fine, regular length book.)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ursula Johnson

    All Roads Lead to Merle House This was the third book in the House of Crows series. More lies and secrets are revealed in this chapter. The main four are finding that they can't escape their destiny. The Dark Man haunts them all and it is time to come home to Merle House. All Roads Lead to Merle House This was the third book in the House of Crows series. More lies and secrets are revealed in this chapter. The main four are finding that they can't escape their destiny. The Dark Man haunts them all and it is time to come home to Merle House.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nick Phillips

    This series is definitely getting stronger as it continues with this novel edging four stars as we connect more with the characters and start to understand where they are from and, more importantly, where they are likely heading. Full review once I've read book four. This series is definitely getting stronger as it continues with this novel edging four stars as we connect more with the characters and start to understand where they are from and, more importantly, where they are likely heading. Full review once I've read book four.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    What. Is. Even. Happening!?!?! Seriously though, I am enjoying this serial series, and if you are looking for a quick, suspenseful read that has you questioning what's really happening, I suggest this short series! What. Is. Even. Happening!?!?! Seriously though, I am enjoying this serial series, and if you are looking for a quick, suspenseful read that has you questioning what's really happening, I suggest this short series!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    3.5 stars maybe. Things are getting more interesting, so I did enjoy most storylines in this one. Looking forward to the next (and last!) part. Very much hoping there's a resolution and it's not a terrible cliffhanger. 3.5 stars maybe. Things are getting more interesting, so I did enjoy most storylines in this one. Looking forward to the next (and last!) part. Very much hoping there's a resolution and it's not a terrible cliffhanger.

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