Summary: Promising talent Sonja Condit makes her debut with Starter House, an eerie and mesmerizing tale about a young couple whose new house holds deadly secrets from the past, sure to appeal to fans of Heart-Shaped Box and The Thirteenth Tale. From the moment Lacey sees the house with the beautiful wood staircase, she knows she’s found her dream home. Growing up rootless with her flighty mother, Ella Dane, a self-proclaimed psychic, Lacey is determined to give her unborn baby the stability she never had. But shortly after she and her husband, Eric, move in, the warm and welcoming house becomes cold and dark. There is something malevolent within these walls that wants to hurt her unborn child—a terrifying presence that only she can sense. And there is Drew, a demanding and temperamental little boy who mysteriously appears when Lacey is alone. To protect her unborn child and save her family, Lacy must discover the truth about her dream house and the troubled Drew—a decades-old mystery involving secrets, violence, and guilt—and confront an evil that has lingered in wait for years. ~harpercollins.com
Review: I don't typically do horror or creepy books. I like my thrillers with a psychological bent but Starter House peaked my interest when reading the summary. I thought "ooh, it's a mix of all the things I like in my books". Yeah, a mix it was but in a way that made you crazy.
Off the bat the husband, Eric, bothered me. He has no backbone at all. He speaks his mind but only when it's too late and cruelly. He is extremely self-centered and self-pittying. There is a point in the book when he's making a list of reasons why Lacey should come home and instead of "Because I love you" being number 1, it's number 9. That struck me as cold. Lacey isn't much better. I think I would have liked pre-marriage Lacey better. Plus as a couple I never felt the love for each other through the book. I felt that they were married for convienience or some other reason.
Starter House was all over the place. There were subplots within subplots. It was like Ms. Condit was trying to cram three different books in one. Some of the subplots were out of left field making you wonder WTF? Not necessarily in a good way. It got to the point where I just wanted to know the story with Drew and to see if they could get him out of the house. Even that resolution was a bit perplexing.
What Ms. Condit does well is to keep you in suspense throughout the novel. She knows how to hook you and keep you intrigued enough to stick with it. The downfall of the novel is that it meanders. I never sticks with one or two plots to focus on. I would definitely be interested to see how her writing changes from this debut novel to her next one. I don't think I'll run out and get it but it might be library book.
Final Take: 3/5
TLC Tour Dates:
Tuesday, December 31st: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Wednesday, January 1st: Girls Just Reading
Thursday, January 2nd: A Bookworm’s World
Monday, January 6th: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, January 7th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, January 8th: BoundbyWords
Thursday, January 9th: Ace and Hoser Blook
Monday, January 13th: Sweet Southern Home
Tuesday, January 14th: Booked on a Feeling
Wednesday, January 15th: Book Addict Katie