Monday, September 26, 2016

Within These Walls by Ania Ahlborn

This book felt like a weird mash-up of some of my favorite horror movies plus Charles Manson. It centers around true crime writer Lucas Graham who gets an opportunity of the lifetime and a possible career saving pitch to come interview notorious murdered Jeffrey Halcomb in prison. Halcomb was a leader of a cult where every member killed themselves. There are some conditions: he must live in Halcomb's old house--the same house where the deaths took place. This is the part that reminded me of Sinister--washed up true crime writer living in the house of the crime.

Lucas and his wife separate and he moves with his daughter into the house. Once there, though, they both begin to experience strange happenings in the house. Additionally, Lucas runs into some roadblocks with his writing and things begin to spiral out of control.

Interwoven with the story of Lucas is the story of Audra (one of the victims) and what really happened so many years ago. I said this reminded me of bits and pieces of other stories all melded together. At first when I started reading it, I was excited because it felt different and like this might end up being an amazing story. But I found some parts of it hard to follow and I felt ultimately disappointed by the direction it took. I also felt the conclusion lacked explanation--I don't always need details, but I do like some idea of how and why things are happening.

I did find it entertaining and engrossing enough to keep with it, though. And it also did a good job of playing on the fear/horror of having the thoughts that are most terrifying to you (about you) be exploited and used against you. Halcomb was able to manipulate his victims through their pain--most often their negative feelings about themselves compounded by their less than ideal relationships with their parents.

So, might be worth a look, but not as good as it could have been!

I did receive a review copy of this book long ago.


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