Dread is a hard emotion to spark within a book. But The Spite House does it intensely throughout.
Eric Ross is a father to two girls: 18-year-old Dess and 7-year-old Stacy. They are on the run from an unnamed tragedy when he sees an intriguing help wanted ad in rural Texas. A rich old woman wants someone to stay in her family’s house and prove unequivocally that it is haunted. She is willing to pay in the high six figures for what may be a short-term job with free room and board. Eric agrees. He knows his family has a “curse” but feels it won’t bother his ability to complete the job. However, he doesn’t know that young Stacy has psychic abilities.
The Spite House is old fashioned horror at its best. It reminded me of old Stephen King and, of course, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. However, it has a modern day setting in addition to its many flashbacks to the characters’, and the house’s, past. There are only two reasons why the book didn’t quite rate a 5 star review. In the middle, there are a whole lot of point of views that didn’t seem to be relevant (though some eventually were later in the book). And the ending…well the ending was unexpected.
Overall, the book is a solid 4 star that promises a bright future for its author.
Thanks to Tor Nightfire and NetGalley for a digital review copy of the book.