“Fans of ghost stories like The Haunting of Hill House and Hell House will love this book.” – Horror Maiden
Myles Carver is dead. But his estate, Watermere, lives on, waiting for a new Carver to move in. Myles’s wife, Annabel, is dead too, but she is also waiting, lying in her grave in the woods. For nearly half a century she was responsible for a nightmarish reign of terror, and she’s not prepared to stop now. She is hungry to live again…and her unsuspecting nephew, Paul, will be the key.
Horror After Dark Review
HOUSE OF SKIN, by Jonathan Janz, is a thought-provoking, ghost/haunted house novel that is set in the perfect location to envision such a story. When Paul Carver is left the vast estate of Watermere, upon the passing of his Uncle Myles, he drops everything in his unfulfilling home life and eagerly jumps at the chance for a fresh start.
“All it needs to live again is fresh blood…..”
What Paul doesn’t count on is that he is the only person in the town that doesn’t know anything about the Uncle he never met, and his long deceased wife, Annabel. With the exception of a beautiful–yet reclusive–librarian, Paul is met with a mixture of hatred and envy by most, on account of suspicions that were never proven against Myles Carver.
Between our getting to know Paul, librarian Julia, various townspeople (including Sheriff, Sam Barlow), and the massive estate that is Watermere, flashbacks to scenes in Myles’ and Annabel’s life are interspersed throughout the novel. While I’ll admit that I first found them a bit of an abrupt change, I quickly began to look forward to these as the past events began to shed some light upon the present circumstances.
There were some aspects of the story that were simply “hinted at” as opposed to being outright explained. In this particular book, I found that technique to actually enhance the brooding atmosphere, rather than detract from it. There are novels in which this ambiguity is more of a frustration, but in this case, enough was given to let readers “connect-the-dots” on their own, which I found to be a far more rewarding experience once each piece clicked into place.
Overall, I really enjoyed the different layers concealed in this novel. The complexity of the storyline was something I had to literally read through the entire book to fully understand–this was not a tale in which I could quickly “guess” at what was going to happen. Yes, it had some small, predictable elements; but the overall picture was one that was so convoluted you had to digest ALL of the episodes–including the past flashbacks–to see the book as a whole.
About The Author
About Jonathan Janz
Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories. His work has been championed by authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Brian Keene, and Jack Ketchum; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and School Library Journal. His ghost story The Siren and the Specter was selected as a Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for Best Horror. Additionally, his novel Children of the Dark was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Horror Book of the Year. Jonathan’s main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children. You can sign up for his newsletter, and you can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.