Conjure House by Gary Fry

The village of Deepvale has a sinister past. Built in the 1400s, it has been home to a number of sordid characters, including Peter Suman, known locally as ‘The Conjurer’ due to the diabolical experiments he was 17912071rumored to have conducted during the 19th Century, in a dark old house beside a lake.

In the 1990s, after a bet with his elder brother and three friends, seven-year-old Simon Mallinson goes missing inside the now derelict Conjurer’s House.

Fifteen years later, his brother Anthony is back in Deepvale, following the brutal deaths of his parents. And strange events have begun to occur in the village again, including the apparent return of young Simon and his creepy new friends. Worse still, Peter Suman appears to be back, too, bent on achieving what he failed to do over a hundred years earlier…

Conjure House, a novel of cosmic terror from Gary Fry.

This book immediately reminded me of It by Stephen King because of the disappearance of the younger brother and the reunion many years later of the childhood friends.  But there was no clown – which is good if you have a clown phobia, as some people have told me they developed after reading It.

As far as the creep factor goes, this book definitely had it:  eerie setting, empty decrepit house of ill repute, glimpses of things out of the corner of your eye, and a wardrobe that held more than clothes.  My grandparents used to have one of these with musty-smelling old clothes and my mind immediately went back there.

I never really connected with the MC, Anthony, partly because he was so secretive.  He brushed aside his wife every time she asked for an explanation of what was going on, even though their son was involved, and turned to friends he hadn’t seen in 15 years.  The reason was never made clear.  Anthony’s son, Carl, was very easy to like – he had the curiosity and innocence of a child, but was clearly more intelligent than most 7-year-olds.

The pacing was adequate and the book was well-written and descriptive, but the ending fell a little flat for me and I was left questioning the motivations of some of the characters.  All things considered, I’d recommend reading this if you’re a horror fan.

I received a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.

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