2015: House of Echoes

"Dearest Kathy,

It is over now, sister, but for how long?”

House of Echoes, Brendan Duffy

Well, it’s Halloween week here at the blog, which is to say, I read two spooky novels in a row, urged on by a facebook post by my friend.  Neither really scratched my spooky book itch, alas - I may have to go down and re-read a Stephen King (which I can now do, since Hoorary! after five months of living here I have finally unpacked and shelved my fiction!).  Maybe even, ‘Salem’s Lot, which, as far as I am concerned is the scariest book I have ever read (Pet Cemetary is up there too).  Actually, trying to read spooky books this week has really made me appreciate King (and also his son, Joe Hill), because I am finding out that a lot of scary books are just not that scary. Or well written.

House of Echoes, the newer of the two books I read, was the better one.  The premise is pretty good - a family moves from New York City upstate, and buys a big old house they are trying to renovate into an inn.  They’ve suffered some trauma and are trying to rebuild their lives, but things start to go astray - the neighbors are unfriendly, the winter is creeping in, their son is acting strangely, etc. etc.  This is all good stuff, and I like the interspering of terrible things from the past.  And it was a new angle to have the past trauma arise from a terrible winter during the Revolutionary War, with the Iroquois and such - usually the terrible thing is Victorian, so I thought that this angle was new and interesting.  AND, I even liked the ending - sufficiently horrible when found out and I at least was too dumb to see it coming.

BUT, the book still seemed a little lacking.  I rarely say this, but I actually think it was too short.  This is the kind of story that is meant for an overstuffed novel with lots of history crammed in, and spooky things slowly sneaking up on us.  It was a bit rushed - and there was a lot of literary prose that took up space where plot should have gone.  Duffy had a great idea for a spooky old house novel- but he should have committed and crammed it. As it is, it seems a little perfunctory.

Anyway, do you have a recommendation for a good spooky house novel for me? The kind that you read cuddled up in bed and then are too scared to go to the bathroom after? Let me know in the comments!

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017