I think I would’ve liked this book better if I’d read it before the author’s other book, ‘Within These Walls.’ I gave that one 4 stars – and I can’t really argue that it was necessarily a superior book – but it was a very similar book. I suspect that if you read this one first, you might feel that ‘Within These Walls’ was the bit of a letdown. Both share the same basic ‘haunted house’ plot outline and progression.
Here, Aaron Holbrook is grief-stricken and drinking too much after the death of his young son in a car accident – an accident that he blames himself for. His failure to get himself together has also precipitated his relationship toward a divorce. Separated from his wife, he decided to go back to his hometown and renovate the home that was left to him by his aunt.
He hasn’t been back there since his aunt, his guardian, died in an accident in that home when he was just a boy. Returning is a bit of a shock, as he discovers that the town had all kinds of rumors about his disappearance – rumors that he was actually dead, that he’d murdered his aunt, that the house left empty was haunted. Reconnecting with his childhood best friend and first girlfriend is emotionally fraught, and being in Holbrook House doesn’t seem to be helping Aaron’s already-fragile mental state.
It’s not bad, and there were definitely some tense and chilling moments. It just didn’t feel strikingly original. Recommended for fans of the haunted house genre.