Katrina Monroe and the Dark Side of Fiction

Katrina Monroe is an author, mother, and professional haterologist. Her favorite things to hate include socks that fall down, grape-flavored anything, and the color 'salmon.' Grab her books here.

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Book Review:
Every House is Haunted

 

From the cover:

"There are haunted places in the world, all existing in reality and every bit as tangible and accessible as the house next door. Sometimes it is the house next door."

 

In this brilliant debut collection, Ian Rogers explores the border-places between our world and the dark reaches of the supernatural. The landscape of death becomes the new frontier for scientific exploration. A honeymoon cabin with an unspeakable appetite finally meets its match. A suburban home is transformed into the hunting ground for a new breed of spider. A nightmarish jazz club at the crossroads of reality plays host to those who can break a deal with the devil...for a price. With remarkable deftness, Rogers draws together the disturbing and the diverting in twenty-two showcase stories that will guide you through terrain at once familiar and startlingly fresh.

 

First Impressions:

            I tend to shy away from story collections because I’m not a sporadic reader. Collections are for people who will read a story and walk away, saving the rest for another day. When presented with a book, I devour it, cover to cover, which has a tendency to force vaguely related stories to blur together.

            With EVERY HOUSE IS HAUNTED, however, I quickly discovered that the stories are so different not only in story but in genre and style that this blurring of narratives wouldn’t be an issue.

 

The Best of it:

            I’m a sucker for fairy tales and in this collection are several stories that fall under the broad umbrella. Autumnology, The Currents, Hunger, and Twillingate all tickled my fantasy-driven brain in the best ways. The Currents ended up being my favorite because of its simplistic story-telling style. I believed every word right from the beginning.

            Not in the fairy-tale style but still one of my favorites, Leaves Brown presented an evolution to the styles present in this collection that reached something highly skillful and a pleasure to read. There’s a sophistication to the character relationships in this one, which I appreciate.

 

The Worst of it:

            A couple of the stories in this collection seemed to fall off at the end. Vogo was the worst offender. I lit up the first few paragraphs into The Nanny (one of the few times I’ve smacked myself, thinking, ‘Why didn’t I think of this?’), only to be let down when the story stopped just when the plot was developing. I would be thrilled if the author decided to adapt The Nanny into a longer work. Please, oh please!

 

Yeah, But What if it Were a Movie?

            According to the author’s website, the Shirley Jackson nominated story, The House on Ashley Avenue, has been optioned for film. I’m quite excited about this; THOAA is a richly told haunted house story that reminds of the adult equivalent of the animated film, MONSTER HOUSE. It has the potential for a highly imaginative adaptation. I would cast unknowns in the lead roles, only to keep a familiar face from casting a shadow on the roles themselves.  

 

Show Stealer:

            From the cover and title, I expected to find a single genre and its tropes strewn about the pages, only to be pleasantly surprised at what I found to be the opposite. Carefully crafted stories fill the pages, genre-mashed in interesting (and sometimes surprising—looking at you, The Rifts Between Us) ways.  

 

Final Impressions:

            I’m confident in saying that in this collection there is a story for everyone, regardless of your genre of choice. Don’t be fooled by the horror-esque cover. While there are stories with significant creep factor (and one or two I would go as far as to say that are disturbing), you will also find stories with heart and with mystery. Well worth the read.  

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