Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Demon Inside by Rick R. Reed

Synopsis From Back Cover:

Hunter Beaumont doesn't understand hi grandmother's deathbed wish: "Destroy Beaumont House."  He'd never even heard of the place.  But after his grandmother passes and his first love betrays him, the family house in the Wisconsin woods looks like a tempting refuge.  Going against his grandmother's will, Hunter flees to Beaumont House.

But will the house be the sanctuary he had hoped for?  Soon after moving in, Hunter realizes he man not be alone.  And with whom - or what - he shares the house may plunge him into a nightmare from which he many never escape.  sparks fly when he meets his handsome neighbor, a caretaker for the estate next door, but is the man salvation... or is he the source of Hunter's terror?

I've been a sucker for haunted house stories my entire life, I can never get enough of them.  The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson and Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite are two of my all time favorite books, and while A Demon Inside may not be comparable to the first, it definitely fits in with the second book.  Both books take a young gay man and force him to deal with family secrets in such a way that they put their lives in jeopardy.  The difference though is that while Trevor in Drawing Blood knows what he is getting himself into, Hunter doesn't, which makes the story even more compelling.

Hunter is a shy, naive young man who was raised by his grandmother after his parents were brutally murdered, an event that Hunter was present for.  He grows up sheltered and hidden away from most of the world, a move that his grandmother took to try and protect him, but left him a little vulnerable and easily influenced.

Once his grandmother passes and asks him to destroy Beaumont House, that vulnerability and naiveness gets quickly tested.  His first love affair ends horribly but it was one that if Hunter had been less trusting and more socially developed, he could have avoided it all together.  This is what send him packing to Beaumont House despite the misgivings he felt the first time he was there.

This is where the book really takes off and the action starts.  I won't go into too much detail of what Hunter has to deal with while living in the house, though I will say if I woke up the first morning in a new house and had the same experience Hunter did, I wouldn't bother packing, I would walk right out the front door and never look back.

The author does a wonderful job of setting the right notes of fear and stubbornness that Hunter feels throughout the book.  There aren't a lot of authors who can write a convincingly haunted house story without coming across as cheesy or trying to hard.  This author has it nailed down.  The atmosphere he invokes works perfectly with the storyline and never gets in the way of the plot.  He methodically creates the perfect sense of terror that leads to a wonderful thought out climax that left me wishing there was more to the story.

The other aspect I loved was the lack of sex, though there was a strong desire for it, between Hunter and his quite attractive neighbor.  The author lets their friendship and trust build first and it's only towards the end that you realize they may have something real they can fall back on once the horror of the house is finally over.

This was my second book from this author and I'm falling more in love with his writing style.  I can't wait to read the next one.

This will qualify for the GLBT Reading Challenge 2010.


Anonymous said...

Haunted house stories have never really been my thing. I'm a scaredy cat at heart. The relationship between Hunter and his neighbor sounds well-done, though.

Lydia said...

I'm shuddering just thinking of a haunted house story! I've never been much into scary (mostly because I enjoy my sleep!)

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

This sounds so great! I love haunted house stories too. One of my favorites is Hell House by Richard Matheson. That book scared the crap out of me! I have yet to pick up a Poppy book...I really need to. Keep hoping I'll run across some of hers at library sales. I find myself hoping that The Haunting of Hill House makes it as our Halloween Horror selection. So far, it has 2 votes and Echoes from the Macabre has 1. We will see.