Final Thoughts: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“What is worse? To be confronted with an obvious horror, or to be haunted by a never-ending premonition of what’s ahead?”
Jac Jemc’s masterful voice narrates a powerfully eerie struggle between a married couple and the spiritual toxicity buried in the walls of their new home. After James and Julie Khoury make a decision to by a big Victorian property in the rural suburbs of New York City, they begin seeing visions in the halls, bruises on their skin, drawings on the walls, and a band of cryptic children playing in the forest (reminiscent of Hostel, anyone?). While they attempt to explain the strange happenings in their home to each other, their marriage and their sanity threatens to fall apart.
Jemc paints an impressively creepy portrait of the hauntings in the Khoury house. As her narration jumps between Julie and James, their downward spiral is tangibly anxious, and their trepidation leaps off the page. As they delve deeper into the fog, their ramblings become more incoherent and downright chilling. A familiar story of a couple plagued by their ghostly home, Jemc’s take on a classic plot is anything but derivative.
The most enjoyable, if not frustrating part of the novel comes at the very end: the hauntings are not explained, the visions have no cause, and we are left wondering as much as the characters do. Jemc leaves us with no answers, and as hungrily as I want an explanation, I can’t help but feel incredible relation to the characters’ point of views. I feel gipped of a conclusion, but I also feel pleasantly like I’m not entitled to one here. Suspense at its finest, Jemc has created a rare gem of a genuinely frightening read.
Final thoughts: don’t read this in a dark room alone, unless, like me, you’re into putting yourself in situations that induce anxiety.