House by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. Published by WestBow Press in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.
I think this is the first time I’ve read a novel written by two authors. I wonder how that works, and how different that is than for a non-fiction collaboration. How two voices merge into one, how two trains of thought meet to run at the same wavelength. Must be very interesting. I imagine the extra head provides some relief during the editing parts of the writing process.
I was intrigued by the compelling review by Greg of the blog A Life in the Day. I was delighted when a quick check online with the National Library shows that they have the novel, but not at the branch closest to home, so I had it put under reservation for a token fee, simultaneously selecting the option to have it delivered to the branch of my choice. Less than a week later I received a note in the mail notifying me that the book had been delivered and was ready to be picked up. Isn’t that amazing? I really should write a post about how much I love our public libraries, something I imagine many of us take for granted until we travel and realize people in some other countries out there are just not as fortunate. Our National Library Board, the good work they have quietly done for the people of Singapore; it’s really one of the things I love most about my country.
A haunted house tale, the novel tells the story of a couple, Jack and Stephanie, who gets stranded on a deserted back road after a peculiar accident. They are forced to continue on foot and so they are relieved to come across The Wayside Inn which looks inviting and welcoming, but things quickly start to take a strange turn after they meet another couple inside, Randy and Leslie, who tells them that they too were led to the inn after experiencing the same kind of accident.
The premise feels very familiar, feels like I’ve read or seen it on screen many times. Stranded people desperate for shelter. Conveniently finds it. Hosts are creepy. Strange things happen. Villain in a mask. But I enjoyed it nevertheless, and I’m glad it’s a supernatural horror story, not a slasher one. I’d take ghosts over killers on a murderous rampage anyday. Because tales of violent human serial killers committing explicitly gruesome murders on teenagers or whoever are just sick.
House is a joy to read because it’s rivetting and fast-paced, and the scenes play out so vividly that it was easy to visualize a movie behind the words. In fact I soon put faces of actors to voice the dialogue of most of the characters, including the four leading ones of those two couples.
James McAvoy as writer Jack
Leslie Mann as fragile Stephanie
Josh Brolin as pompous executive-type Randy
Aisha Tyler as sexy Leslie.
Greg wrote that House is hard to put down and I agree with him. I can’t remember when was the last time I took just two sittings to read a book, and this one is over 350 pages long. I could have devoured it in just one session, but it was already quite late at night when I started and I had to (reluctantly) stop halfway because I needed to sleep as I was working the following day.