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Saturday, February 4, 2023

REVIEW: The Spite House, by Johnny Compton

Available February 7, 2023

Eric Ross is on the run from a mysterious past with his two daughters in tow. Having left his wife, his house, his whole life behind in Maryland, he's desperate for money—it's not easy to find steady, safe work when you can't provide references, you can't stay in one place for long, and you're paranoid that your past is creeping back up on you.

When he comes across the strange ad for the Masson House in Degener, Texas, Eric thinks they may have finally caught a lucky break. The Masson property, notorious for being one of the most haunted places in Texas, needs a caretaker of sorts. The owner is looking for proof of paranormal activity. All they need to do is stay in the house and keep a detailed record of everything that happens there. Provided the house’s horrors don’t drive them all mad, like the caretakers before them.

The job calls to Eric, not just because there's a huge payout if they can make it through, but because he wants to explore the secrets of the spite house. If it is indeed haunted, maybe it'll help him understand the uncanny power that clings to his family, driving them from town to town, making them afraid to stop running.

Wow...I just read that this is Compton's debut. 

My goodness, I expect some good things from him.
Southern Gothic set in middle of nowhere Texas, black lead characters. So much to unpack just there. The characters are realistic and exactly as relatable as they should be. Each one gets an opportunity to carry part of the story from their own POV. It does get a little confusing (wait, who's talking?), but that built some of the low-level fear/anxiety a good horror novel has in it.

The isn't a character of it's own, like many a good haunted house story has. No, the Masson House harbors hauntings and haunted people. However, its haphazard construction feel does makes it creepy in its own right.

Overall, a solid first offering from a new voice. It's a good scary story and while not everyone's cup of tea, I can see a teenager or two staying up late to read.

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Tor Nightfire through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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