Published by Tor Nightfire (3.3.2023)
Genres: Adult, Horror
Format: ARC, 256 pages
A haunting Southern Gothic from an award-winning master of suspense, A House With Good Bones explores the dark, twisted roots lurking just beneath the veneer of a perfect home and family.
"Mom seems off."
Her brother's words echo in Sam Montgomery's ear as she turns onto the quiet North Carolina street where their mother lives alone.
She brushes the thought away as she climbs the front steps. Sam's excited for this rare extended visit, and looking forward to nights with just the two of them, drinking boxed wine, watching murder mystery shows, and guessing who the killer is long before the characters figure it out.
But stepping inside, she quickly realizes home isn’t what it used to be. Gone is the warm, cluttered charm her mom is known for; now the walls are painted a sterile white. Her mom jumps at the smallest noises and looks over her shoulder even when she’s the only person in the room. And when Sam steps out back to clear her head, she finds a jar of teeth hidden beneath the magazine-worthy rose bushes, and vultures are circling the garden from above.
To find out what’s got her mom so frightened in her own home, Sam will go digging for the truth. But some secrets are better left buried.
I *almost* downloaded this book on Netgalley, but I’ve been trying really hard to not download anything else until I catch up on my backlist reviews. I ended up not needing to, because my bookstabestie Christy sent it to me (thanks Christy!!), which was a good thing because….this has been my least favorite Kingfisher novel thus far.
Which makes me SO sad. The other two horror books I’ve read of hers (Hollow Places & Twisted Ones) were EPIC, so my standards were pretty high. This one sadly did not live up to those standards.
Not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, because I still did for the most part! I was just expecting a bit more from it. I found the main character, Sam, to be lacking in comparison to her previous MCs. This book also lacked the humor that I loved so much about her other novels. It was kind of bland, actually. It took FOREVER to get to the interesting parts. Things don’t start happening until at least halfway through, and the major action doesn’t come until the very last quarter of the book. The first half is pretty mundane, only giving strange little snippets here and there to clue you in that something was off, in order to string you along and maintain intrigue. (Oh, and BUGS. Which I’ll get to in a minute.) If the whole book had been as interesting as the creepy action smashed into the last part of the story, I would have loved it. The buildup is very long and slow for this being such a short book.
So…bugs. I want to say that I probably would have enjoyed this WAY more if I was into bugs, lmao. There is sooo much bug talk because Sam is an entomologist and therefore obsessed with bugs. And by obsessed, I mean she is CONSTANTLY talking about them (especially in the first half), to the point that it was getting a tad exhausting. WE GET IT, YOU LOVE BUGS. *long suffering sigh*
Writing style: 3.5/5
Overall rating: 3/5