When Laurie was a little girl, she was forbidden to enter the room at the top of the stairs. It was one of many rules imposed by her cold, distant father.Read more...
When Laurie was a little girl, she was forbidden to enter the room at the top of the stairs. It was one of many rules imposed by her cold, distant father. Now, in a final act of desperation, her father has exorcised his demons. But when Laurie returns to claim the estate with her husband and ten-year-old daughter, it s as if the past refuses to die. She feels it lurking in the broken moldings, sees it staring from an empty picture frame, hears it laughing in the moldy greenhouse deep in the woods
At first, Laurie thinks she s imagining things. But when she meets her daughter s new playmate, Abigail, she can t help but notice her uncanny resemblance to another little girl who used to live next door. Who "died" next door. With each passing day, Laurie s uneasiness grows stronger, her thoughts more disturbing. Like her father, is she slowly losing her mind? Or is something truly unspeakable happening to those sweet little girls? "
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-05-25
- Reviewer: Staff
In this pallid horror novel set in present-day Maryland, trauma survivor Laurie and her spouse and daughter are drawn back to her estranged father’s house after his sudden death. Soon Laurie must deal with awful memories and hidden secrets in a horror story that never feels particularly terrifying. Malfi (December Park) methodically goes down the list of genre tropes (returning to a place of trauma, remaining in the house against all wisdom, a malevolent spirit, possible insanity, a cheating and money-grubbing spouse, etc.) without bringing anything new. By the time the secret is revealed (itself a clichéd moment), there’s no terror, just revulsion as readers learn how awful Laurie’s father was. The characters are stock figures, making it hard to care about the threat of Laurie’s cruel childhood friend, who has seemingly been resurrected in a new body. It’s a collection of familiar set pieces instead of a story, without enough freshness or development to engage the reader. (July)