If You Want a Bit of Horror that’s Not Based in Washington, D.C.

House of Spines, Michael J. Malone, release date 1 April, 2018, 276 pages, Orenda Books

House of Spines is an absolute delight: a horror cum bibliophilia tale that is (honest!) nearly impossible to put down. Ran has inherited his great-uncle’s book-filled mansion. That mansion, however, is filled with more than books—there’s a haunted lift, not-quite-identical pieces of his own writing that he clearly didn’t write, an unusual staff of two who live on the grounds, and relatives who thought they’d be inheriting the house and have development plans for the property.

I’m not a big reader of horror fiction. That’s partly because I’m ambivalent about being frightened (especially right before bedtime when I do my reading) and because the genre so often emphasizes gore over real plot and character development. If you’re like me, do take a chance on House of Spines; I can assure you that you’ll find it a satisfying read with plenty of plot and interesting, unpredictable characters. If you already like horror fiction, let me just say that you are going to love this title. Twists. Turns. Ghosts. Murders. A sprawling mansion that seems to have endless unexplored rooms.

Star Rating (out of five): ****


Key to the star ratings:

Five Stars—it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, stop it and get to your nearest independent bookstore stat, so you can get a copy of this title.

Four Stars—this book will carry you through satisfying hours of reading and may keep you up past your bedtime.

Three Stars— you could do worse than reading this book, and you’ll probably enjoy yourself a fair bit of the time.

Two Stars—if it’s a choice between this book and the latest bit of inexplicably popular tripe, you’ll find yourself feeling somewhat less ill-used if you go with this one.

One Star—if you’re stranded on a desert island and it’s the only book you have, it will be worth reading once; after that, focus on alerting potential rescuers.

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