Harmony, Indiana is to Michael West what Castle Rock, Maine is to Stephen King. It's a beautiful little all-American town, populated by good, old-fashioned, ordinary folk. It's a friendly town, where the citizens aren't embarrassed to come to one another's aid. It's also a place with deep, dark, dirty secrets tucked carefully away, just out of sight.
Secrets like serial killers, haunted farmhouses, Lovecraftian monsters, bloody rituals, and a history of gruesome deaths . . . all of which feature in Spook House, the latest Harmony tale from Michael West
This is another solid West thriller, gruesome, bloody, scary, and fun. The opening scene is right out of a classic horror flick, complete a "don't go in there!" sentiment shared by the characters as well as the reader. The scene in the basement of the Fuller House is matched only by the scene outside, where the gloriously grotesque spider-dog comes fully to the forefront.
The emotional high point of the novel for me was the scene in which a young woman is sent by her father to let the dog in at the back door. It's one of those "don't open the door!" kind of moments, but even the most jaded reader can't anticipate the horror about to descend upon the family - even if a fortunate accident does provide the means to end the threat of the spider-dog once and for all.
Sheri and Robby are strong characters, vulnerable and damaged in their own way, but with a hidden strength that drives the story forward. There are sparks there, but West wisely allows them to smoulder in the background, never allowing the prospect of romance to distract from the horror. As for Cayden, the Irish serial killer who's come to finish what Fuller started, he's almost too charming. He's funny, clever, and almost likeable . . . until he starts slaying young women to 'slip into their skin' (literally) in order to open the portal to Hell.
As for the climax, it's absolutely brilliant. Once again, West manages to pull off a finale that's more than worthy of the horrors leading up to it. If you've ever doubted that Super Soaker water guns, trucks full off road salt, bags of saline solution, and a cheesy Halloween haunted house set-up could be scary, then you need to give this a read - even if just to see how history comes full-circle, and how the victims become the heroes.Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins