Book Reviews

{Review} Your House Is On Fire, Your Children All Gone

{Review} Your House Is On Fire, Your Children All GoneYour House is on Fire, Your Children All Gone by Stefan Kiesbye
Published by Penguin Books on 2012
Genres: Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 198
Format: Paperback
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Shirley Jackson meets The Twilight Zone in this riveting novel of supernatural horror--for readers who loved Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children A village on the Devil's Moor: a place untouched by time and shrouded in superstition. There is the grand manor house whose occupants despise the villagers, the small pub whose regulars talk of revenants, the old mill no one dares to mention. This is where four young friends come of age--in an atmosphere thick with fear and suspicion. Their innocent games soon bring them face-to-face with the village's darkest secrets in this eerily dispassionate, astonishingly assured novel, infused with the spirit of the Brothers Grimm and evocative of Stephen King's classic short story

Your House is On Fire, Your Children All Gone caught my eye with its title and fittingly creepy cover. But often a cover deceives me. This one delivers on the creep factor and is a quietly dark, infinitely disturbing book. Each chapter is told by one of five friends as they’re coming of age in an isolated, superstitious small town. In each chapter they either do something horribly disturbing or find out an equally disturbing secret about an adult in their life. Each story builds on the dread and horror of the previous tale. I had to read the book in dribs and drabs due to real life and would recommend reading it cover to cover if your short-term memory is non-existent, like mine. I found myself getting a little mixed up about who did what horrible thing because well . . .

It’s not a big deal, really, because all of these kids and people are pretty awful, in the most deliciously devious readable way, of course.

A few reviews have said this book is slow and boring and I’m the first one to admit a book is boring me to death (most do) but I didn’t find that to be the case with this one once I got past the beginning. True the horror is more of the quiet type but that doesn’t dull its effect at all. Horrible things are done and told in such a dispassionate way that it all seems normal and you are left to dwell on that.

About Stefan Kiesbye

Stefan Kiesbye has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan. Born on the German coast of the Baltic Sea, he moved to Berlin in the early 1980s. He studied drama and worked in radio before starting a degree in American studies, English, and comparative literature at Berlin’s Free University. A scholarship brought him to Buffalo, New York, in 1996. Kiesbye now lives in Portales, NM, where he teaches Creative Writing at Eastern New Mexico University. His stories and poems have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, and his first book, Next Door Lived a Girl, won the Low Fidelity Press Novella Award.


Scary books make everything so much better! I've been reading them since I was a wee, weird little thing and grew up with a steady diet of King, Koontz, Barker, and Brite and will read and watch just about anything with a hint of darkness.

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