Aside from classic books like Dracula, Frankenstein, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I have not read a lot of horror books not written by Stephen King. I’ve read almost every thing that he has written without fail. I think I am about 5 shy of completion. I also have read a half dozen Anne Rice books. And I think it stops there.
So this book is a departure. I’ve been interested in Tananarive Due novels for a while, but I haven’t had access to the first of her vampires, so picking up a one-off helped me out there. I liked this one a lot. It has some very clear and direct reference points to Stephen King–including name dropping one of his novels. But it’s also clearly influence by his structure and style. There’s the cryptic and ambiguous opening. There’s events that unfold quickly plot-wise, but take the whole novel to explain. There’s the jumping around to different central figures all barreling to a final showdown.
But this book does two things that work extraordinarily well: the plot structure keeps a central question at bay for almost 500 pages in a very effective way, and because there’s a clear mythic analog to the supernatural element, there’s a cohesive plot trajectory.
The novel itself is about a series of bad, evil, tragic events that happen at our main character’s family home, a home formerly known as the “good house”…and she tries to move with her life, she realizes that these events are symptoms of a darker and deeper issue begging to be resolved. It’s a more or less trope-filled plot, but one that is handled very adroitly.