I read 153 books this year in a 50/50 split between audiobooks and other formats. Being unemployed helped that along, didn’t do much for me in terms of my mental health. But there were so many good reads consumed and published this year, I had to make two lists. Enjoy!
Listened to the audiobook Trigger warning for suicide, sexual assault, violence, body horror, emetophobia
This book was so good, I got myself a hard copy upon completion. In this horror novel taking place in the Pacific Northwest, a Fourth of July party goes horribly wrong and homeowner and lawyer Angela Toussaint works to find out what led to her son’s suicide, as other acts of violence take place.
The structure of The Good House absolutely blew me away. Where many novels build up to the absolute worst thing, this one starts with it. But the horrors don’t stop there—a father drowns his son, a starlet winds up dead, and other happenings make Angie’s journey a race against time. The attention to the reactions steep the reader in the loud horror that is this novel. Due does not pull any punches with this one, so if you’re squeamish or prefer quieter terrors, this book might not be for you.
Much attention is taken to round out each and every one of the characters. The attention to intergenerational “sins” in a framework that’s not based in Christianity was something new to me, and I loved how seamlessly integrated it was into the more immediate problems of suspicious stomach aches followed by violence. The evil here doesn’t exist in a binary, which is what makes this story so immersive. There were definitely points at which I wished I could have looked away, but Due takes her time exploring the lead-up and consequences. The attention to detail is astounding. Even on a sentence level, the language in this work is so precise. No metaphor or simile is wasted and draws a straight back to the plight of the POV character.
A harrowing haunted house story with so many layers and a fascinating structure about a lawyer trying to do right by her family.