Above the steps, the house appeared like a doll’s house set against the wilderness, prominently displaying the large picture window Angela and Tariq had built after they claimed the house as their own. Gramma Marie’s house had been built in 1907, and except for the picture window, internal refurbishing, roof work, painting, and electrical and plumbing updates, the roomy house remained as it had always been: a cheery blue post-Victorian with five bedrooms, twin pairs of narrow white columns on either side of the porch to greet visitors, and a round windowpositioned like a watchful eye from the attic. The boxy second story sat atop the smaller first level like a fat, nesting bird. The house bordered nearly virgin woods and a creek that had been in Angela’s family for three generations now.
Sounds lovely doesn’t it.
Well this house has been haunting me the past week(s) or so since I’ve finished this book.
You don’t think that a town like this..
small cluster of businesses that called itself “downtown” always had their radios tuned to the same oldies station that played The Four Seasons, Bobby Darin, and Elvis Presley, creating an overall effect Corey called “Time Warp, U.S.A.” And how even the beefiest-looking bill-capped rednecks with gun racks mounted in their pickups’ rear windows drove past them in town and greeted them with wide grins and neighborly waves like characters straight out of a Frank Capra movie.
A town like this could never harbour something evil. Could it?
Because there would be something else. She knew that from a place that did not adhere to rationality, a wordless, unmapped place. She’d felt that tingling in her fingertips, the same sensation she’d experienced on the Fourth of July, and that tingling signaled big things, catastrophic things. She hadn’t realized until now how much she’d been living in dread of the day that cold-burn would return, imagining what awful surprises it would drag in its wake.
But this town has seen some tragic events recently, and there’s more to come.
And it all began a long time ago, with vodou priestess Marie Touissant, who lived in the Good House, and who, while trying to help a neighbour’s child, unleashes a relentless spirit into her world.
Fast forward to today, and Marie’s granddaughter Angela is back at the Good House, staying there with her family, visiting the sleepy town she grew up in. She hasn’t a clue about the house and its past, or even her grandmother’s powers and beliefs. But when her life, her heart, is ripped apart, she begins to uncover her family’s past, its connection to vodou, and her own need to embrace it – or die trying.
Tanananarive Due has written a very suspenseful book. One that I made sure not to read at night, especially after one evening, when I read it close(r) to bedtime, and then couldn’t sleep!
I’m not the best judge of horror or suspense novels. I tend only to read them for this event, as they really just creep me out. And at RIP, I get enough creeping-out to last me for the rest of the year. Due’s plot, with its vengeful spirits reaching out to take everything that is precious from you, really sent chills up my spine. I know it may sound weird to many of you, but I think I felt this way, because I kind of believed it. I mean, I know it’s fictional and all that, but there were parts of it, the horrors of losing a loved one, that just ripped my heart out.
That’s the thing though. I ‘enjoyed’ the book in the sense that I was creeped out, as I was meant to be. But I am hesitating to pick up another of her books, because I don’t really want to be creeped out like that again! At least not right now. And I also have to add here that it took me weeks just to finish writing up this post, because I really just dreaded having to think about this book again.
So if you’re looking for something suspenseful this RIP season, consider The Good House!
Speculative fiction novels
The Between (1995)
The Good House (2003)
Joplin’s Ghost (2005)
African Immortals Series
My Soul to Keep (1997)
The Living Blood (2001)
Blood Colony (2008)
My Soul To Take (2011)
Naked Came the Manatee (1996) (contributor)
The Tennyson Hardwick novels
Casanegra (2007; with Blair Underwood and Steven Barnes)
In the Night of the Heat (2008; with Blair Underwood and Steven Barnes)
From Cape Town with Love (2010; with Blair Underwood and Steven Barnes)
South by Southeast (scheduled for September 2012; with Blair Underwood and Steven Barnes)
“Like Daughter”, Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora (2000)
“Patient Zero”, The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Eighteenth Annual Collection (2001)
“Trial Day”, Mojo: Conjure Stories (2003)
“Aftermoon”, Dark Matter: Reading the Bones (2004)
“Senora Suerte”, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (September 2006)
The Lake (2011)
The Black Rose, historical fiction about Madam C.J. Walker (2000)
Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights (2003) (with Patricia Stephens Due)
Devil’s Wake (with Steven Barnes) (2012)
Domino Falls (2013)
Ghost Summer (Collection) (2015)