My Rating: 3.5/5
Author: Sonja Condit
Title: Starter House
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.
My Short Summary:
Lacey and her husband, Eric, are on hunt for a new house. With a baby on the way, Lacey can’t wait to have a place to call her own and prepare for the baby. Lacey falls in love with a certain house. Although warned not to take the house by the realtor, they buy it anyway. Lacey right away sees a little boy, Drew, around the house and around the property. She soon learns that he is a ghost and can go from being sweet to an angry child in a split second. Learning that the house has a history of murders and deaths, especially with babies and children, Lacey soon regrets moving into this “perfect” house. Unfortunately, Eric doesn’t believe in such things and is very adamant about staying there. “They can’t afford a new home.” Things start to go wrong and the marriage becomes strained. Can Lacey keep her marriage and baby while living in this house? Can she find out why Drew is stuck there, and why there are so many deaths?
Narration: The story is written in third person mainly following Lacey, although Eric and Lex (his client) share their perspectives, as well.
Character Development: Throughout the book, the reader becomes very familiar with Lacey’s love of children and Eric’s rational side of things. Over all, I don’t believe any of the characters really grow by the end of the novel – at least, not in a drastic way that would be expected. Perhaps it is how the book ended that makes me feel that. (I won’t go into details here because it would be a spoiler.) Other main characters in the book include: Lacey’s mother who is considered crazy with her crystals and herbs; Lex who is a client of Eric’s trying to gain custody of his daughter; Drew the little boy who haunts the house and the families that lived there; and Harry who is the neighbor who sells them the house and who is related to the hauntings.
The story is what I would call slightly spooky, not a gory horror novel. The book centers on the mystery of the past murders and how they might be related today. It also focuses on trying to find out who Drew is and how he plays a part in everything that happens. The ending could have used a few more pages to at least to wrap up everything that happened. I didn’t really see the characters’ reactions to the climax which is what I was expecting. Everything fell neatly into place without any problems.
Standalone or Part of a Series:
This is a standalone novel.