The hype around this book and the plethora of positive reviews it already has was not lost on me. My paperback copy had been sitting on the shelf for a few months before I took the creepy trip to Kill Creek and its infamous haunted house. Perhaps some part of me thought I’d be disappointed, having heard such great things about it, and it somehow wouldn’t live up to my expectations.
Well I needn’t have worried. This book was great!
Just when you thought there was nowhere else the haunted house sub-genre could go, in steps this gripping, thrilling, and creepy tale to the horror mix.
I’m sure most people know the set-up, but I’ll briefly mention it here. Four horror writers agree to take part in an interview of sorts for a popular horror website by travelling to a supposed haunted house. There. That’s covered it.
That description doesn’t really do the book justice, though. That brief blurb sounds a bit ‘Oh, OK then, another horror story featuring a writer’. But it’s much, much better than it sounds.
What was refreshing was that we already knew the characters, well the two main ones, before the house is even set foot in. And that really helped with the tension.
As a writer of horror stories, it was really cool to read a horror story by a writer of horror stories, about people who write horror stories. Does that make sense? There’s a definitely a shout out here to lovers of the macabre genre. It’s almost as though the book is written by a fan for the fans; OK, this is certainly the case.
We’re given the history of the house in an unnerving yet not too scary prologue, before being slammed into the here and now where we meet the writers.
Sam McGarver lectures College students his horror class, and T.C Moore – one badass (at least on the surface) lady – tells some Hollywood types to go eff themselves. I was immediately interested in both these characters. Sam especially, has demons in his past, nightmares that are slowly introduced as the story progresses, keeping the interest right up there.
They receive invitations for a ‘different’ kind of interview by an extremely popular internet horror sensation.
So when the house is finally introduced, we’re already ‘feeling’ these two.
The whole premise of the interview seems a little ‘off’, though. But writers want exposure and it seems this is certainly going to help with sales. Two other authors, Daniel Slaughter and Sebastian Cole, are also recruited, Cole being Sam’s biggest influence on his writing.
So off they pop to the house.
After staying only one night with strange dreams and unsettling conversations, the interview is done and the authors leave, returning to their working lives.
Ahem, what? That’s it? Well of course not, it seems none of them are truly free from the house. Its got its timber and nails in them, so to speak.
All four of them become prolific, almost too prolific in their writing, obsessed with crafting their next opus, all of which seem to be very similar to their experiences at Kill Creek. Has the house got something to do with this? Well duh, you better believe it!
Plagued by incidents from their past, and the loss of one writer’s daughter, forces them to confront these demons and return to the house. But the house is waiting for them, insanity-inducing visions and everything.
It’s easy to mention The Shining when talking about a haunted house with a ‘personality’ but the whole motivation or essence of the building here is given a nice twist. But of course I won’t say any more on that subject.
The book culminates in a tense and action-packed stand-off with the house and one deranged (possessed?) writer, along with some pretty creepy happenings. Some well-timed gore also hits the spot. How I really wanted them all the escape!
And then there was the prologue. This kind of ending is exactly what I’m looking for in horror fiction – and it’s not all ‘they lived happily ever after’.
So believe the hype and waste no time getting yourselves invested in this horror thriller of darkened delight!
Categories: book review