We begin with an anniversary. A family prepares to mourn the one year loss of a son and brother but there are two problems–the family is so fractured that they don’t even want to be in the same room as each other and two, there’s a madman who plans on killing them all because of the secrets they are keeping from one another. From the outside the family seems to have everything. They have a loving dog, a gigantic house with all the fancy amenities, dad (the surgeon) drives a mercedes. The two surviving kids are the pictures of intelligence and attractiveness. The couple have been married for 20 years…but their secrets are tearing them apart without them even knowing.
If you like dark horror and gore, this is the book for you. It reminded me of old school Dean Koontz (before he pontificated constantly but when he was definitely sick and twisted) or even a little like Clive Barker when he’s not dealing with weird puzzlebox demons from a different dimension. The book kicks off with a bang and it never lets up. The family reluctantly orders chinese food at sits at the table together to eat, none of them able to look one another in the eye. The food tastes off and all of them disperse from the table…from each other. When they wake up, the nightmare begins. The house has been sealed shut, the windows shuttered with sheet metal. Why is this not sending red flags to the neighbors? A number of reasons. We live in insular worlds where we often don’t make time for our neighbors anymore and also, the killer has put a termite tent over the house. This dysfunctional family has to work together as the house is plunged into darkness if they want to make it out alive…all the killer wants is their secrets. The book uses the metaphor, “secrets kill” and shows us, boy how do they ever!
Clocking in at over 500 pages, I flew through this baby in a day (and that’s even with a five hour zoo trip thrown in there). The author doesn’t skimp on the details even when you’ve had enough for this obstinate family, he just keeps thrusting the plot forward with more and more interesting ways in which to reveal that this family isn’t a family at all. They simply know nothing about each other but what they believe or want to believe about one another. It had a very cinematic feel to it and I could definitely see it making it to the big screen someday. There’s a little twist in there, but one that seems fairly obvious from the get go. You could do much, much worse than read this book if you’re looking for a little bloodshed in your reading materials.