Starter House by Sonja Condit

Starter House by Sonja Condit © 2014 Harper Collins

As the title indicates, the problem for soon-to-be parents Lacey and Eric Miszlak is their recently purchased first home. Seems the property has been the site of numerous child murders, a fact which the realtor, who also once lived in the house, withholds from the Miszlaks. Eric is a lawyer, but doesn’t seem to appreciate this obvious and actionable breach by the realtor. But that’s a nitpicky flaw in an otherwise very entertaining horror story.

Lacey keeps encountering a little boy, both on and off the property, who may or may not be the ghost of one of the children murdered in the house. Whatever he is, Drew becomes an increasing threat to Lacey and her unborn child. Meanwhile, Eric takes on a divorce client, a bizarre and potentially violent man-child, who, it ends up, has ties to the haunted starter house. Condit converges these plot lines into a very original take on haunting.

The relationship between husband and wife in Starter House was rather inexplicably and frustratingly cold. But the unique and sometimes hilarious interplay between the man-child client’s dysfunctional family and between Lacey and her Bohemian mother more than made up for it. Lacey’s increasingly creepy attempts to understand and “control” Drew provided believable high tension since Lacey has no apparent escape from him.

The book was so well thought I was a little disappointed in Condit’s resolution. I’d hoped for something more intellectual and less hand-to-hand. Still, this was a fun page turner with strong characters and a unique twist on the concept of haunting. Thoroughly worth the read, and thoroughly worthy of my shelf.

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