Wednesday 12 September 2018


Rumor has it that the house by the cemetery is haunted by the ghost of a witch. But rumors won't stop Mike Kostner from rehabbing the place as a haunted house attraction. And behind the rumors is a real ghost who will do whatever it takes to ensure the house reopens. Because while the witch may have been dead... she doesn't intend to stay that way.

Well, it's time to review my last Flame Tree Press ARC. This is one of the horror titles I was looking forward to reading because I love the cover, and I'm a sucker for a haunted house story. 😁

When Mike's friend asks him to help make the abandoned house by the cemetery safe enough to have crowds of people go through it's doors and many levels on Halloween, he's not sold on the idea.

Turning a place that is rumoured to be haunted by a witch into a haunted house attraction during October doesn't appeal to him, but it appeals to the group of people who are going to decorate and run the place.

But then Mike meets the attractive Katie. She's eager to help and keeps him company while he works. So he's determined to keep coming back to finish the job. No matter what...

So. Okay. 

Like I said before, I was excited about this book. It started out well, I was totally into it and really enjoyed the first two parts. I especially loved the way Part One ended because it was so cool. It confirmed something I'd suspected, and to have it revealed in such a shocking way was great.

My main problem with this story turned out to be Mike. While I liked him quite a bit while he was working on the house, I had a lot of trouble with how he deals with a certain revelation. It just didn't seem right. Didn't fit the way his character was unfolding. Makes him seem like a bit of a moron who finds out something absolutely ghastly, but doesn't care. As long as the sex is good, he goes along with anything and everything.

Yeah, that really bugged me. Although I got the feeling he was lonely and heartbroken, I never got the impression that he was stupid. He was level-headed, so I had a hard time accepting his whatever attitude about all the gross stuff he sees and does just because he wanted to be with Katie.

I mean, I know love/lust can make people blind but this was a bit much.

The story is told in multiple POVs, which was a great way of giving the book a fun angle. I got a real kick out of all the horror movie references, and how creative the crew was in setting up the different scenes inside the house. 

BUT, there were too many POVs thrown into the last part. Some turned out to be too random, while others just weren't deep enough. The balance in the first two parts was thrown off during the last act. And that's when the story lost me.

Also, there was another pesky thing that bugged me. A character mentions "an Australian movie about killer sheep". The movie Lon is talking about is called Black Sheep, and is actually a movie made in New Zealand, not Australia. I know it's a tiny thing--more of a pet peeve--but I'm a stickler for horror movie references.

The House by the Cemetery is an entertaining and different take on the haunted house trope. It's got quite a few disturbing revelations, a nice setup, some crafty horror references, and leads the reader into quite the gorefest. But for me, the last act lets it down.

I love a good splatterfest as much as the next horror freak, but this one was too flimsy. In the end, I didn't feel bad for the victims, didn't care who lived or died, and eventually lost interest in the villain's quest. Plus the ending was pretty meh, IMO. 

It's a shame because I was sure I would love this.

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