Sunday, May 12, 2013
Haunted House brings together several characters from Kilborn/Konrath's past novels. The author says you don't need to read the other books to make sense of this one, but it would definitely help if you did. I was most excited to see Mal/Deb from Endurance and Sarah from Trapped.
I loved the warm up to the arrival at the haunted house. I appreciated the detail paid to each of the characters and felt that it really provided a great background for when they would join together later. Basically, each of the characters has experienced some horrible type of situation in their lives, and are being recruited for a government project to learn about creating an antidote for fear. This of course ties back to both Afraid and Trapped.
Some people are reluctant to go, some are coerced, and some outright refuse. They are summoned to the Butler House, a large plantation mansion which has had a bloody and violent history. It is also known to be quite haunted. But if the "subjects" spend one night there, they will receive $1 million, and in some cases, some additional help.
This is a Kilborn book, so of course the house is truly one of horrors. There's torture, viciously broken bones, hands used as sandwiches, bloody masturbation, and a severed head giving oral sex to it's own body. And that's just the beginning. It was a gory thrill ride, with plenty of mayhem for the average Kilborn fan.
My review is not without a couple of criticisms however. The involvement of Fran, Josh, and Duncan (from Afraid) just seemed like an afterthought. The monkey has always been slightly ridiculous, but now it's got a GI Joe helmet and the world's smallest gun? I feel that story arch may have been better left out. And, the editing. I spotted several errors, and while that doesn't turn me off a book totally, I'm an editor-of-sorts by day, and those things stand out like a sore thumb. Mr. Kilborn, if you ever need someone to give your next story an early read, I work real cheap ;)
Overall, I really liked Haunted House, and am always looking forward to Kilborn/Konrath's next book!!