Bully bait

Slade House

Compared to David Mitchell's previous work, Slade House: A Novel (Random House, $26) might be—at a mere 256 pages—what he'd call a novella, but one that fits nicely with the rest of his epic oeuvre. Slade House is the home of a pair of teenaged soul-sucking shapeshifters, the twins Jonah and Norah Grayer. Young Nathan, bully bait if such a thing exists, is dragged there by his pill-popping mom, and the novel throws in some ghost-hunters and a bit of reporting from an expert on the case of the Grayers, as well as a cameo appearance of Iris Marinus-Levy, a character from Mitchell's previous novel, The Bone Clocks. It's a combination ghost story and intertextual romp, with the language and careful plotting that has made Mitchell both popular and respected.