#BookReview Home by Thomas Overlook #horror

I have so many questions, and I didn’t really get many answers.

Joel and Aubrey just wanted a fresh start; there is a presence in their new home that threatens to destroy everything they hold dear.

Home: Book 1 of the Red Hat Trilogy by [Thomas Overlook]

Memories, lusts and secrets begin to reveal themselves, and one begins to question who exactly are these people, and why is this happening in this house? What has led to these strange occurrences?

Joel, Aubrey and Sylvie (their one year old daughter) finally have the home they always wanted, yet something strange begins to transpire that begins to tear their world apart, testing the strength of their relationship and themselves.

As Joel is working at home listening to an audio recording, suddenly a piercing sound resonates through the recording, then abruptly stops, putting Joel on edge.

After Joel’s experience he heads to town where he encounters a man sprouting mysticism. Joel’s thoughts keep travelling back in time to different memories in his life.

In another bizarre occurrence, a puddle of water keeps on appearing at the foot of the stairs without any reason. Then, Joel’s phone rings, he answers, a sound barely audible, not quite human hums back at him.

“Yes?.. Yes? Please?” Over and over, a mechanical sound echoing from the phone and he cannot escape it

Disturbing, unsettling. The house or something within it is triggering off dreams that could seep back into reality.

As more creepy occurrences drift into their lives, it gets harder to dismiss that it is a result of an old house. And when Joel comes face-to-face with creatures that one cannot even explain, his life is never the same.

Impressions:

The first chapter goes into a very detailed explanation of the events that occurred leading to how the characters have developed into the people they have become.

One thing you get right off the bat, this is definitely going to be a character driven novel with lots of dialogue and mental flashbacks. This can be fine if it provides a clearer insight to the main characters and their motivations, which in many instances it did not. In fact, it made it even harder to discern the kind of people they are, especially Aubrey.

The chapters are quite drawn out with long explanations on their past. Clearly, the unusual happenings are causing them to linger on past memories, bringing out hidden desires. 

Joel’s character is easily relatable and likeable. A caring father and husband, he is just wanting to do the best for his family. However, Aubrey is something else altogether. From the beginning there seems to be disdain, frustration at the situation. There are hints that they close, yet in many instances there is a distance. I didn’t get the feeling their relationship was all that open.

The genre is classed as a horror, yet there is so much focus on the everyday life of Aubrey, that it takes attention away from the actual plot.

I understand in the description it is a character driven story; however, I feel it is a little too bogged down, especially the Aubrey POV. The author does a better job at creating a connection with Joel, when weird stuff is happening to him, I felt pulled in.

I felt pulled in. However, when it jumps to Aubrey the ‘spell’ is broken again.

Whether you like or dislike long chapters, this one certainly takes the cake. At page 101 I’ve only nearly finished chapter 2. This could also contribute to the pace of the story. Perhaps if the chapters were shorter, there would more of a feeling of a sense of urgency, of building up to something.

I think the author has good material, with good foundations for the characters. However, I do believe the format for the novel still needs work. The long winded narrations could have been cut down to increase pace, yet still reveal the psyche of the characters. 

The thing with the horror genre it tends to focus more on the plot, and breaking the characters with the events getting more gruesome or disturbing. I just wouldn’t have put it as a horror.

One thing I credit the author, despite those critiques, I was still very curious to see where this was going to lead. The author still had me hooked.  There was something rather riveting reading the first of many unusual occurrences.

The book is a tangled web of juxtaposition of two characters, their morals and reactions.

It is a confusing tale of things coming from what seems like another world, tormenting and mocking.

The ending did not resolve anything, in fact I was left with more questions than answers, and not in a good way.

Perhaps the author wanted to try for that psychological aspect, yet without the true sense of the authenticity of Aubrey, and why she acted the way she did, I was left with wondering who this character even was.

Overall, there are elements that had me riveted. I was curious to see where the story would take me. Joel’s character held the story together. 

It just doesn’t feel like a completed work. Overall editing and formatting of chapters is needed. A clearer purpose for Aubrey and how exactly her character was before, then ended up might have made her more likeable, and made it clearer what happened in the end.

For those wanting to read something completely out-of-the-box, with some creepy suspense and a spicy sex scene, then perhaps you could give this one a try.

2/5.

(I would have rated this book higher if more editing and formatting had been done on the chapters and structure, as well as some added chapters to explain why any of those events even happened.)

Thank you to Reedsy Discovery, and to Thomas Overlook for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Published by sharlene25

Sharlene Almond is the author of the genre-bending Annabella Cordova series, and a New Zealand travel book Journey in little Paradise. She has written a range of health, writing and body language articles; contributing as a guest writer on other blogs. Over the last ten years, Sharlene has attained qualifications in Body Language, Criminology, Journalism, Editing, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Pet Care, and Animal Behaviour. While setting up an online nutritional business, she is studying to specialize in Medicinal Cannabis and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sharlene is also currently editing her second Annabella Cordova novel, with two others in the works. To support her online business, Sharlene sends out a trimonthly newsletter covering health, body language, writing, and even articles centered on health topics for your pet.

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