Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Good House, by Tananarive Due (author), Robin Miles (narrator)

Recorded Books, July 2004 (original publication August 2003)

The first thing you need to know is that I don't read horror. I don't read anything really dark. I just don't.

Except sometimes I do. Usually because someone said, oh, this is good, and I didn't ask enough questions. A bunch of people said this was good.

They were right.

It's very, very good.

It's also every bit as dark as you'd expect from something entitled The Good House, and maybe a bit darker than that. Lots of really bad stuff happens. And I kept listening to the audiobook, all the way to the end, because it was worth it.

Angela Toussaint Hill has returned, with her son Corey, to the Good House, the house she inherited from her grandmother, Marie Toussaint, for their annual summer visit, in the Pacific Northwest town of Sacajawea. Her ex-husband, Corey's father, shows up unexpectedly, but things are going better than she expected, as they head into the Fourth of July and the party Angie is throwing.

The party starts well. It doesn't end well.

Marie Toussaint was a vodou priestess, and in the 1920s, she saved a girl from demonic possession and, in the process, angered the powers. Her family is cursed, and with Marie gone, her family is unprotected--unless Angie can figure out how to fix things.

Angie isn't even aware of the problem.

The story alternates between the summer 2001 events surrounding the Fourth of July party, Corey's unguided curiosity, and the uncertain relationship between Angela and her ex, Tariq, and culminating in tragedy, and the events of 2003, when Angie returns to Sacajawea, hoping to make some decisions about the house, and deal with her grief.

The characters are absolutely compelling. The story is twisty, dark, and creepy, and Angie has a lot of issues to work through, not just the vodou curse on her family that has cost her everything important in her life. Due builds her story, the family, and the town with detail and atmosphere, and simply made it impossible for me to stop reading.

Important note for some readers (including me): The dog does not die. For some of us, this really is a critical point.

Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook.