Smithy by Amanda Desiree
Set in 1974, in a run down mansion, this book immediately caught my interest. Surrounded by the palatial summer homes of the ultra wealthy, a group of college students are conducting a research experiment with a young chimpanzee. He's been raised in a family setting and now they'll be teaching him sign language in an effort to document his intelligence and his ability to communicate. Last used as a private boarding school, most of the large building has been sealed off due to safety concerns. It's dark and creaky and prone to unexplained fires that they blame on the old wiring. Told through letters and research videos and excerpts from books written long after the actual events, the story build slowly. Once the worst happened, it wasn't as nightmarish as I'd expected it to be, but the book itself was interesting enough that I didn't mind that it never got actually scary.
It Will Just Be Us by Jo Kaplan
Sam has lived her entire life in Wakefield, a decaying mansion built by her ancestors at the edge of the Great Dismal Swamp. The rotting hallways and rooms shift and change. The building is filled with ghosts. Sam and her mother and her sister, Liz, have always known that. They speak softly so that they won't have to hear their conversations repeated later...because they are surrounded not only by the ghosts of the dead, but by apparitions their own younger selves. It took me a while to figure out what was going on in the house, but once I did understand how the hauntings and apparitions worked, I started to enjoy the book a lot more. There's cruelty, which I found hard to read, and a lot of dense, elaborate descriptive prose, but once the plot really picked up, it gave me chills.
Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. This post contains affiliate links.