The House that Death Built

John Llewellyn Probert. Atomic Fez (, $24.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-0-9866424-5-6
Samantha Jephcott and Massene Henderson, Britain’s only paranormal investigators, head to a house that may actually be haunted. Arch dialogue abounds as TV pseudomedium Jeremy Stokes joins them, hoping to find relief from his recently developed actual psychic abilities. An “ectoplasmic entity” at dinner, a horrific history, and an enigmatic butler are only some of the stock horror offerings that await. Probert’s take on the haunted-house scenario offers some predictably gruesome developments but thin characterization. Cutesy asides and over-the-top elements of malignancy suggest that Probert is engaged in self-conscious spoofery of the horror genre. This effort clashes with efforts to establish a more sinister mood, however, as does in-your-face foreshadowing that undermines the slow buildup of fright. The final showdown between our heroes and the forces of evil extends the hackneyed into the realm of the ridiculous. (May)
Reviewed on: 02/04/2013
Genre: Fiction
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