I love to read, but the horror genre has been off limits ever since I saw the original Psycho in 1960 and was scared to walk the three blocks to my home. I was 12 and I decided then that I did not want anything to do with such movies, stories, books, or even “fun” houses at the fair!
So I was surprised to receive a novel for Christmas, House, by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. My daughter, who gave me the book, knew that I loved This Present Darkness, also by Peretti, so she thought that I would like this one too. She said it was “Christian Horror.” I never knew there was such a thing!
I want to review the book here, and I hate to give away any of the drama in the book, but I am not sure how to give a good review without describing some of the key elements, so if you think you might want to read the book, maybe you ought not read any further in this post.
I entered the book with trepidation. I met Jack and Stephanie as they were on their way to a counseling session to try to salvage their marriage. Things had not gone well for them following the drowning of their daughter a year earlier.
Their trip took a detour that led to their being drawn to an isolated house that looked like an old Southern inn when they arrived. But it turned out to be anything but a place of cordial hospitality. Another couple, Randy and Leslie, also found themselves in the place that night. The four shared a night of unmitigated terror.
As the evening unfolded, the house seemed to be alive, with a mind of its own. It seemed to know the hearts of the four trapped inside by the machinations of the house itself and the villain, Barsidious White.
The story moves at a good pace and helps the reader to get a growing awareness that the personal guilt of the individuals was contributing to the animosity of the house toward the victims. I must admit that I can think of few things that are more horrifying and painful than having to come face to face with one’s hidden sinfulness.
The story allows for redemption and a victory of good over evil only if those trapped inside would indeed acknowledge the sins they had been covering up, while blaming others for their plight in life. Though the word is never used in the book, repentance is an absolute necessity if the sinner wanted to live another day.
Good does win out for some of the four, and though it appears the story is over, we leave the book with an awareness that the evil perpetrators were far from finished with their “game”.
The book has been recently made into a movie, released last November. I promise, I will not go see it. And I hope I do not have images appear in my mind in the night!