I enjoy reading new authors, especially when they are from publishers that I know and trust, so I was happy to have a copy of “This House. . .” by Benjamin Kane Ethridge and published by Samhain Publishing and was hoping to find another writer that could entertain and scare.
Joey Lodge was in a horrible accident as a child that changed his life forever. After being in a gruesome accident during a dirt bike race, he is able to regain normal motor functions but his brain never works the same again. Joey never really has anything or anyone that gives him direction for most of his life. His family members are all caught up in their own personal dilemmas and Joey is just left to drift along. Everything changed when the alien began guiding Joey toward building a haunted house. The only problem is that Joey has no idea what makes a house haunted.
What makes a haunted house? Is it the spirits of the dead come home to roost and cause havoc rather than moving quietly into the afterlife or is it the shattered dreams and insecurities of the living coming together to form a violent collision of psychic energy. Neither Joey nor the alien in his head knows the answer to this question but they are determined to find out at any cost. The stage is set for the haunting to commence trap is set. Let the haunting commence!
“This House. . .” has one of the better premises for a story that I have read in a while. Ethridge has the story set up to explore what makes a house haunted and the cast of characters are definitely a haunted bunch that is used to being consumed by their inner demons. The alien concept was a little strange but had the potential to give the story a little bit of a quirky angle that could have added another dimension to the tale. The novel had enormous potential to be one of the better and more original haunted house stories in a while.
The novel has a great premise and starts with a lot of promise but it just never really lived up to the promise that it set out with. One of the reasons why the story failed to reach its potential is that it is difficult to really care about the characters as they are, with the exception of Joey, one dimensional characters in their deviancy or depression. They come off more as the embodiment of despair rather than real people. The other thing that held the story back is that it becomes very disjointed about halfway through and I had to work too hard to put together a flowing narrative. I do not mind a nontraditional method of telling a story but it just did not work for me too well in this story. Overall, I liked the story and would recommend it to fans of the genre who are looking for something different. It is a good book but I just felt as if it could have been so much more.
I would like to thank Samhain Publishing and NetGalley for this advance review copy. “This House. . .” is scheduled to be released in February.