cover image The Spite House

The Spite House

Johnny Compton. Nightfire, $27.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-250-84141-4

Compton’s chilling debut is horror with heart that puts a refreshingly modern spin on the haunted house story. On the run and in hiding from a mysterious family curse, Eric Ross and his daughters, Dess and Stacy, are desperate to find ways to make ends meet. Eunice Houghton, a wealthy eccentric, is willing to pay a substantial sum for anyone willing to stay in the Masson House, one of Texas’s most haunted buildings, and record their encounters with the supernatural. Eager to provide a better life for his daughters, Eric takes the job and is determined to see it through to the massive payday at the end. But as staying in Masson House becomes increasingly dangerous, Eric realizes that no one is telling him the entire truth about the house and its history. By changing perspectives between Eric, Dess, Stacy, and Eunice, this tense work of gothic horror provides a complex and multidimensional look at how anger, grief, and trauma can strengthen bonds of familial love. The tale’s simmering tension builds to an inevitable but thoroughly satisfying conclusion that, like the ghosts of the spite house, lingers. Even the most jaded horror fans will be wowed. (Feb.)