House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

Akin to Jennifer McMahon’s The Winter People and Joe Hill’s Heart-22716451Shaped Box, House of Echoes is a debut thriller populated by achingly sympathetic characters, charged with psychological suspense, and rich with a small town’s strange history.

A young New York City couple with a boy and a baby in tow, Ben and Caroline Tierney had it all…until Ben’s second novel missed the mark, Caroline lost her lucrative banking job, and something went wrong with 8-year-old Charlie. When Ben inherits land way upstate from his grandmother, the two of them began to believe in second chances. But upon arriving in Swannhaven, a town that seems to have been forgotten by time, they’re beset by strange sights and disconcerting developments…and they begin to realize they might have made their worst mistake yet. But what dark secret is buried in this odd place? And will Ben and Caroline figure it out soon enough to save their young family? – Goodreads.com

Upon seeing the comp books and reading the synopsis of House of Echoes, I had certain expectations.  For the most part, those expectations were not met, as I’ve read both The Winter People, which completely captivated me, and Heart-Shaped Box, which was full of suspense and oozing with eerie moments.

It was a good place to start – a family having problems, looking for a fresh start, moving into an old house with a history, small town with secretive, eccentric people.  I kept waiting for something to happen – you know, IT, the inciting incident – just…..anything.  Do I really need to say this story was slow-paced?  I was hoping for a twist or unexpected turn of events, but the plot was very familiar and predictable and most of the novel seemed like filler.

Although this was a young family with small children, they seemed as if they could barely stand each other and spent most of their time apart, making it very difficult to connect with them.

I enjoyed this author’s writing style and the imagery was very well done, giving an authentic feel to the house, surroundings, and town.  The multiple POVs also added to the story – especially when seeing things from 8-year-old Charlie’s perspective.

If you prefer your horror/thriller books to have more of a slow-paced, gothic feel and gradually lead you into the story, I would recommend this book.  I was hoping it would bring something new to the genre and although House of Echoes was an okay read, it was more of an amalgam of other books I’ve read.  House of Echoes is scheduled for publication April 14th, 2015.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.

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