A while back I read and reviewed Astrid Addams’ novella The Haunting of Hope House. It was a decent haunted house tale but one that didn’t exactly blow me away. So here we have another ‘Haunting story, and a very different and creepier house. This one I enjoyed much more.
Jane is a carer for the elderly who has worked in this sector for a number of years. When she hears of a job opportunity to care for an old dude in a big house in a quiet little village, it seems like the perfect excuse to get away from it all.
As the story unfolds we find out exactly what she wants to get away from, and why.
The setting of Hacket House was great, the descriptions really bringing the eeriness of the place to life (or death). Everything around and the house itself is tinged with a disturbing red colour. Hmmm, why is that?
The other staff who work in the house all seem a bit off with Jane, as though they’re hiding something (they are!). There are tales of the history of this old house whispered by the villagers; all seem very wary of what has gone on within its walls. And then there’s the huge numbers of monolithic clocks throughout the house that somehow seem alive. These clocks were a nice touch and gave the setting a real creepy, supernatural vibe.
Then there’s the old man, the patient who Jane is there to care for. This dude, although pretty much out of it for the whole story, still holds an invisible grip of fear over his new carer. Just what is the deal with him? His strange mutterings as he eats his spoon-fed slop and restlessly sleeps are pretty unnerving. There’s just something not right about this old house and all who reside there.
I felt this story at times had a little too much going on, though. I really wish some of the elements had been fleshed out. By the end there were so many details regarding the house, the village, the mysterious staff and their histories, the strange beast that lurks somewhere within the grounds of the place (oh yes, there’s one of those), an ancient cult and creepy spooks, that I had yet more questions.
I suppose leaving a little to the imagination is a good thing, increasing the suspense, as it were. But I just felt there was something missing, if you know what I mean. I’d have much preferred this as more of a meaty novel than a novella, one I could truly immerse myself in for a good long while.
Anyway, I’ll stop being negative because on the whole I had a great time reading this. It kept me guessing throughout; who is as they seem, what do they want with Jane? Small villages with secretive residents hiding a dark secret; this is all perfect for a good horror story.
If you like haunted house tales then add this one to your list, it’s definitely worth checking out!
Categories: book review