Conrad Harrison finds himself in Black Earth, Wisconsin, after having taken a wrong turn out of Chicago. He then sees an old house and buys it on impulse, without even stopping to ask his wife Jo – who is back at their home in Los Angeles – whether she likes it.
They move into the house, but Jo almost immediately has to go away for eight weeks to do with work. While she is away, Conrad is given an old photo album with pictures from when the house was originally built in the 1800s. When he is looking through it, he sees a group of women standing outside the house – and has the shock of his life when he recognises his own wife as one of those women…From then on, things in the house take a frightening turn and it soon becomes clear that there are dark forces at work within his new home. But who are they – and what do they want?
I’ve read a lot of reviews of this book, and it certainly seems to have polarised opinion with people thinking it’s either wonderful or terrible. I definitely fall into the latter category. Unfortunately, I think this is probably one of the worst books I’ve ever read, and the only reason I finished it is because I hate to give up on a book no matter how dire it is.
There is an interesting idea here, with the potential for a great story, but unfortunately the execution was awful. Conrad is one of the most unlikeable characters I can remember reading about in a long time. I don’t necessarily think it’s important to have a ‘nice’ main character, but Conrad was too detestable with no redeeming features whatsoever. It become clear early on in the book that his marriage is in trouble, but after his wife (also a deeply unsympathetic character) goes away, he then develops an unhealthy infatuation with the young and very pregnant neighbour Nadia. His thoughts seem to revolve entirely around sex and his recent lack of it, so that he comes across like a petulant teenager.
There are also chapters throughout the book dedicated to his first and great love Holly. While I was expecting some great revelation to come out with regard to her, there was a distinct anti climax when their secret was revealed, and it served no purpose in the main story at all, other than to set the scene for a very long and over descriptive account of how they spent the night together (with every bump and grind accounted for).
Once the story got underway, it seemed to go round and round in circles for ages, and then the ending of the story – when it eventually came – just seemed to go on and on and…..(it certainly got me turning the pages quickly, but only because I couldn’t wait to finish it).
To sum up – and I’m rarely this scathing about any book – this was hokey, boring, with far too many unnecessary references to explicit sex, and not in the slightest bit scary. Definitely one to avoid.