There are many good things to say about Grady Hendrix. He's smart, funny, and has a hell of a handle on the horror genre. His does a fine tightrope balancing act between humor, ghastly horror, and genuine heart.

Hendrix excels in his depiction of women in his fiction. My Best Friend's Exorcism is a study of the lifelong bond women build in childhood. It beats the hell out of Hannah's Firefly Lane. We Sold Our Souls looks at an aging metalhead woman struggling to find herself in a constrictive, judgemental society. The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires looks at the roles of traditional housewives and they strength they derive from one another. In The Final Girl Support Group Hendrix puts a Me Too spin into a story about survivors against the backdrop of a genre long considered to be misogynistic.

Grady Hendrix's latest, How To Sell a Haunted House, is about family. How we hate them. How we love them. How we need and how we need to escape the people we were raised with. And how our parents' influence manipulate us like we are puppets even after they are deceased.

The plots of these five novels could be chick lit. Except for, that is, the brutal scenes of horror. The women in the books are not unbelievably strong. They aren't shrinking victims. They are credible characters. Flawed, uncertain, desperate, but they always find the fortitude they need to overcome their adversaries.

I am an unashamed fan. I love no other horror writer more than Grady Hendrix. He's right up there with King and McCammon, and I do not make the statement lightly.

Grady read dozens of horror novels. Great ones, good ones, and lousy ones. He managed to process it all, and utilize the best elements of them, while casting aside the weak points.

How to Sell a Haunted House is the most brutally unrelenting horror novel Grady Hendrix has published to date. My insides were churning as I read it. The novel is also the most emotionally potent of them all.

I won't give a bit away about the details of How to Sell a Haunted House, but you've probably heard about the evil puppets. There are puppets galore in this amazing novel, and they are fearsome and terrifying. There are also spiritual and emotional revenants. The kind you and I deal with in our own lives.

In the end, How to Sell a Haunted House is about the families we are conceived in, the houses we called home, the torturous and the sweet memories. The poisonous secrets and the healing magic. How hard it is to grow up and grow old, and how it hurts so bad to say goodbye.

February isn't even over yet, but I predict this book will be my favorite of 2023. I've eaten those very words many times in my life, but I am holding firm this time.

Written by Mark Sieber

No comments

The author does not allow comments to this entry