Another novel I read because of Stephen King’s Danse Macabre which he reads in that book as a recent (1982 for DM, and 1978 for this novel) example of horror fiction. And I think that this one, still quite well-known, is a bit of a hidden gem, especially given that Anne Rivers Siddon is more known for beachy society books than horror or thriller novels.
So this book asks the question about whether or not a house can be created “haunted”? We meet the Kennedys, a middle aged couple living in Georgia in a nice (white) neighborhood. The lot next door to them is sold and a young couple and a local architect show up to create and discuss building plans. A few months later when the couple moves, the pregnant wife lose her baby, and before long this and other incident put the house back on the market. Soon a series of new owners moves in, horrors strike, and the cycle continues.
As this is happening we are in the point of view of Colquitt Kennedy, the voice of the neighborhood, as she and her husband are witnesses to all these strange events. She faces the choice of how to try to protect others from the malevolence of the house and the mystery as well.
This is a solid novel through and through and quite scary because the house is haunted, but the violence of it is subtle and more emotional and psychological than physical, so it successfully hides in the margins of the novel, even while it’s happening directly.