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Posted August 4, 2014
Let’s get this out of the way. I didn’t find anything groundbreaking here. It’s a pretty straightforward Lovecraftian horror, albeit with a bit more focus on people and plot than Howie was known for. It won’t change any hearts or minds and won’t blow apart and expectations. All the same, I don’t think that is what Michael West aimed to do.
What I did find is butter-smooth prose and a razor-keen sense of how to draw out suspense. I found a story that pulled me along the shoot like a greased up pig and plenty of greasy-grimy people guts decorating the scenery. I even found myself caring about the main characters a bit and was quite impressed at how whole and solid he makes this little slice of Indiana feel. I haven’t gotten this strong of a sense of the personality of place in a while. Most importantly, I had fun. That’s all that matters here.
The best analog I can think of is AC/DC. Michael West doesn’t change anything about horror fiction any more than those limeys changed Rock N’ Roll, but only a soulless bastard doesn’t get excited when they here that introductory clang of Hell’s Bells.
Posted December 5, 2012
Hauntingly evocative. Great scary story!
Harmony Indiana is one of those places where the veil between worlds grows thin and mysteries seep in. Or they creep, crawl, drip or claw, depending on just which mysteries you’re thinking about. It’s a scary place where an EMT is haunted by his past, a haunted house hides more than it seems, and a cop hopes he’ll live to see his wife again. And it’s the sort of place that doesn’t let you go when it’s drawn you in.
Michael West writes the sort of books that won’t let you go either, from Cinema of Shadows set in the dark of Harmony's soon-to-be-demolished theater, to Spook House, set in the forests and fields outside town. Campfire scares are reflected in the eyes of scared inhabitants. And each familiar character might be greeted with a smile of recognition or clutched onto for support as the terrors pile higher. Beautifully timed with moments of peace and mystery interspersed among gruesome horror, nicely rounded with backstories so sparingly told they add depth without increasing length, and hauntingly evocative with gorgeous scenery behind the gathering gloom, Spook House lends a whole new dimension to the idea of a haunted house, and will keep both new readers and long-time fans glued to the pages.
Or stuck to them with curious slime perhaps…
A writer to watch, a novel to enjoy, and a place to avoid on the map: Spook House, Harmony, Indiana, USA.
Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy of this novel, and I’m writing my honest review. I honestly loved it.
Posted December 5, 2012
Just finished reading Spook House. Took me a little longer than normal because it was too scary to read at bedtime-I didn't want to have nightmares! This is not my normal genre but by the time I was half way through I was so involved with the characters that I had to keep reading, nightmares or not! I particularly liked the cross-over characters from Mr. West's other books, although you didn't have to be familiar with them to follow the story. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who is a horror buff!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 18, 2012
When the Wide Game was released, I found it impossible to think that Michael West could write a book I enjoyed more. But he did.
Spook House is an amazing story, with characters that are real, behave believably, and are lovable.
West's imagination truly takes flight in this episode of his Harmony novels. He creates monsters that are unique and then manifests them in a way that is completely plausible-- making this his scariest ride yet. As with all West writing, the exposition is smooth and flawless; the descriptions are detailed enough, and yet never boring.
The illustrations are unbelievably right on, giving a window to precisely what West describes, as if Matthew Perry got inside West's head and pulled the images out.
From the first chapter, the story is high energy, and one immediately feels connected with the main character. The action will keep you turning the pages, as quickly as you can.
I am not sure I will ever be able to enter an abandoned farm house again!
I don't want to give away too much of the story: JUST READ IT! You won't be sorry!!
Posted May 14, 2013
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