The House

Bentley Little
Signet
1999

Five strangers are about to discover that they share a dark bond.  A haunted childhood.  A shocking secret.  A memory of the houses they lived in – each one eerily identical to the next.  From the remote foothills of the west to the green lawns of sunny suburbia, they are returning – to the past, to the unspeakable events they long to forget…to the house.  And their journeys are about to converge, in one terrifying challenge to confront their nightmares – or be trapped inside them forever…

Bentley Little is another author I just recently started to get into in the past year, mostly due to the recommendations of a Laundromat attendant I knew, if you can believe that.  Well, I guess it doesn’t really make that much of a difference if you believe me or not, as it doesn’t really alter reality.  Unfortunately.

As far as Bentley Little goes, yeah…this guy seems to have a direct tap into that mysterious source of dark imagination that lies on that borderline on the edge of nightmarish madness.  The same kind of thing that the likes of H. P. Lovecraft, Stephen King and Clive Barker dwell around regularly.  Only with Little, his fiction seems to blend together the real and the supernatural imaginings with a pretty talented hand, reminding me of Richard Matheson.

The House, Little’s tenth novel, is very fortunately not your usual haunted house kind of horror novel.  Yes, there’s the supernatural bleeding through to reality; yes, there are ghosts both malevolent and otherwise; and yes, there’s the whole mystery surrounding the questions of “why” and “how” that are addressed.  But, without giving away spoilers, it’s all handled with a unique-ish spin that kept me glued to the mystery of what was going on.  And let me just say, Mr. Little has a rather unassuming and twistedly disturbing imagination.  Not quite as dark as Clive Barker, but…yeah, it’s rather effective.

Overall, The House was a good, straight-forward horror tale, satisfying and inspired.