Friday 3 May 2019

HOUSE OF SKIN by Jonathan Janz

Myles Carver is dead. But his estate, Watermere, lives on, waiting for a new Carver to move in. Myles’s wife, Annabel, is dead too, but she is also waiting, lying in her grave in the woods. For nearly half a century she was responsible for a nightmarish reign of terror, and she’s not prepared to stop now. She is hungry to live again…and her unsuspecting nephew, Paul, will be the key.

Julia Merrow has a secret almost as dark as Watermere’s. But when she and Paul fall in love they think their problems might be over. How can they know what Fate—and Annabel—have in store for them? Who could imagine that what was once a moldering corpse in a forest grave is growing stronger every day, eager to take her rightful place amongst the horrors of Watermere?

Thanks to Flame Tree Press, it's time to review another Jonathan Janz ARC. 😊

Paul Carver is headed to his new home, a large Victorian mansion he inherited from an uncle he didn't even know. He's leaving Memphis behind, which includes a controlling girlfriend and a family who doesn't respect him. He's ready to start a new life, and hopefully write the book he's convinced he has inside him.

Julia Merrow is a librarian. She loves poetry and playing the piano. She also happens to be beautiful and constantly catches the eye of creepers desperate to possess her body. All she wants to do is get on with her life, but these men won't let her.

When Paul and Julia meet, their mutual attraction sparks instantly. But them coming together awakens an evil lurking in their family's past, and starts a chain reaction full of lust, violence and murder...

OMGosh. What can I say about this book? Except that I was once again hooked into another Janz horror novel and wasn't disappointed.

On the surface, this sounds like your basic haunted house story: guy inherits a rundown mansion, moves in with the intention to fix it, hopes to write a novel, starts hearing noises behind the walls, meets a beautiful girl, and then finds himself in a lot of trouble.

But, there's SO much more. A lot of darkness bubbling below the surface. And that's before getting to the murder of victims who deserve what they get. Well, until something happens to someone who definitely doesn't deserve it. But I wasn't surprised when it did because this book starts normal and doesn't take long to dive headfirst into total insanity.

There are no boundaries here. There's a lot of violence, the creepiness is amped to an impossible degree, it ventures into uncomfortable asshole territory, it's full of eerie imagery, and is packed with plenty of freaky shit. There's also some pretty icky relationship stuff, but nothing that put me off the story.

The book is written in the POV of multiple characters--all intimately involved in what's going on in the house--as well as several of the hideous and very perverted past residents of Watermere. The time jumps also work really well, because the revelations from the past tie everything together.

I really liked the main characters, especially Julia and Sheriff Barlow. Even the characters I didn't like--Annabel, Myles, Barbara--were well written and kept me glued to the page.

House of Skin is a disturbing story about an evil so terrible, she spans through history and either manipulates or destroys everyone in her path. It's an interesting take on the haunted house trope, with an added corrupt twist that leads to a shocking end. 😵

This is another great book by this author. I'm glad I have one more of his ARCs left to read.

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