House of Bones by Graham Masterton

The novels kicks of with a curious crimescene. A wall of a house is knocked down, revealing a room full of bones. Some of the bones are ancient, some are recent. Strangest of all, a few of them are impossibly fused into the brickwork.

Cut to John, an eighteen-year-old starting his first real job, at Blight, Simpson & Vane, estate agents. When a customer is reported missing by the police, John has an educated suspicion that it involves a house which the company has on its books. He decides to investigate in secret, without his employers knowledge, and it’s not long before things spiral out of control. All is not as it seems at Blight, Simpson & Vane.

There are many great things about this book. First, it doesn’t read like a kids’ book, probably because Masterton is a long-established horror author for all ages. The author’s style is polished and flows smoothly. The book is also very creepy in places. There is a scene where John witnesses someone being sucked into a wall that is truly cringe-inducing. I also loved the great sense of mystery and foreboding that permeates the first half of the story; the reader gets the sense that John is treadful fearfully around the edge of something very dangerous that he knows next to nothing about. On the downside, the mystery is over all too quick in the form of a very clued-up “Uncle” who just happens to be an expert on some supernatural subject matter that allows John to get the upper hand – miraculously convenient. The latter part of the novel degenerates into a fairly commonplace battle between good and evil featuring some overly-used trappings of the horror genre. You know what I mean; whether it’s silver bullets, holy water or some other trinket that’s called for, this novel doesn’t stray too far from anything we’ve read or seen before.

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