Elle is thrilled to have landed a housesitting job that will get her out of her crappy apartment for awhile and into a place where she can have complete solitude. Except that solitude isn’t all its cracked up to be when some of the doors in the house are locked, and there is scratching inside the walls, and a man who should have been dead for the last 200 years seems to be banging against the walls of his locked crypt…
Darcy Coates really does write the best creepy horror novels! There was a lot of tension in this one as Elle starts to fall into the memories of a former resident of the house, to view the cult of Jonathan Gillespie, who should have died 200 years ago. Someone is trying to tell her something, or get her to comply with certain demands, and she’s not very good at resisting the urge (or her own insatiable curiosity). Does it seem like the setup for a haunted house horror movie, where the protagonist rushes straight into danger. Yes. Yes it does. And it’s absolutely thrilling.
One negative: The climax is rather anticlimactic and a little too easily resolved. The book was more novella than novel, which is probably why. Things got wrapped up very quickly. On the other hand, that left room for three additional short stories to be included in this collection! I liked two of them better than the full-length novella.
Bed and Breakfast
What’s creepier than a haunted house? How about a haunted hotel? One that involves ritual sacrifices of chickens, a ghost with an ax, and a hapless blogger who didn’t used to believe in the paranormal? Absolutely delicious story.
This was the inspiration for primary novel of the book, according to the author’s note, and honestly, while I enjoyed it, there was a bit too much “was it a dream?” emphasis to fully captivate me. But perhaps that’s just because I don’t find small spaces scary, so this might not be hitting my personal buttons.
Creepy mannequins turn a strip mall from dingy and mundane to delightfully horrific. This was probably my favorite story of the set, and I loved the ending!