cover image Incidents Around the House

Incidents Around the House

Josh Malerman. Del Rey, $28 (384p) ISBN 978-0-593-72312-8

Bestseller Malerman (Bird Box) offers some predictable yet still-eerie scares in this horror novel, which is told from the perspective of eight-year-old Bela, who first introduces herself saying good night to her Daddo and Mommy, before sharing that, after they leave her bedroom, “Other Mommy” emerges from her closet. Malerman gradually reveals more about Other Mommy, a thing with eyes that migrate around her head, who repeatedly asks Bela if she can “go into her heart” and talks of what Bela understands as “carnations” and readers will quickly realize is reincarnation. Bela’s parents initially treat the existence of Other Mommy as a joke, but then her father notices a foul smell around the house. As Other Mommy increases her pressure campaign on Bela and becomes more active at different times of day, and in different places, Daddo and Mommy frantically search for answers and a way to eliminate the threat, even as fissures form in their marriage. Bela’s naive narrative voice is the book’s best feature, freshening up the familiar story beats and enhancing the creeping sense of dread. Malerman’s fans will want to check this out. (June)