The Haunting of Blackwood House, by Darcy Coates

The Haunting of Blackwood House, by Darcy Coates book coverGenre: Horror
Publisher: Night Owl Books
Published: 2015
Reviewer Rating: four stars
Book Review by Amy Romine

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Could you survive a week in a haunted house?

Mara is the daughter of spiritualists. Her childhood was filled with seances, scam mediums and talk of ghostly presences.

When Mara finally left her family’s home, she vowed she would never allow superstition or false religion into her life again. Now she’s ready to start over with her fiance, Neil, in a world based on rationality and facts.

But her past isn’t ready to let her go just yet.

Mara and Neil purchase Blackwood House, a derelict property outside of town. They’re warned about strange occurrences in the crumbling building. Doors open by themselves, voices whisper in the night, bloody hand prints appear on the walls, and cold spots linger in the basement, where the house’s original owner was murdered.

But Blackwood was dirt-cheap and came with a large plot of overgrown land. Mara loves her new home, and disregards the warnings.

Because ghosts aren’t real…

…are they?

The Haunting of Blackwood House is a solid good book. I had a few exceptions, more personal tastes, but overall it has everything a horror novel needs to be successful. Creepiness, good descriptions, foreboding, foreshadowing, and a solid realistic back story.

Mara grew up in a household full of Spiritualists where everything is divine the dead are always talking to someone, usually at the beckoning of the almighty dollar. Mara has thus decided her parent’s lifestyle and beliefs are all fake and the supernatural is nothing but a bunch of tricksters out to make a buck off of people’s vulnerabilities.

As soon as she is legally able, Mara separates her life from her parents, scrimps and saves every penny until she is able to buy a house of her own.

The story unfolds from the moment the door creaks open and invites Mara across the threshold. As I said above, all the pillars of horror success. For me I had very few exceptions to the overall tale, but I did have them. The first being the ‘adult’ romance between Neil and Mara. Neil, for me was cardboard and a little too perfect. I wanted more from him, more chemistry, more passion. For two people in love the only way I knew this as a reader was because they said it. You could have made them best friends and it would have been a little more interesting. There was not physicality between the characters, with the exception of a few kisses and some hugging. The fact the couple was in fact so platonic it was a little misleading.

There were a few scenes I thought should have been elsewhere. The action seemed to stop for a conversation which seemed to me unrealistic.

Good pacing and precise tension throughout. I did get the full creep on factor going–having to sleep with the light on at least one night while reading. As I was reading The Haunting of Blackwood House I had flashbacks of several horror movies I enjoyed including Paranormal Activity, Sinister, the Amityville Horror, and The Conjuring 1 & 2. All of these movies have lots of scary scenes and very little ‘gore’. I am not a blood, guts and gore fan. In The Haunting of Blackwood House gore is used correctly and sparsely for effect.

Overall, solid good book. The Haunting of Blackwood House is the first in a series but can absolutely stand alone. I look forward to reading more from Darcy Coates and would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good creepy, old fashioned horror novel.

Amy Romine

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