By Grady Hendrix
Published January 2023
The one thing Louise dreads more than leaving her daughter with her ex to fly home to bury her parents is dealing with her loser brother. Mark is flaky, can’t keep a job, and sometimes Louise wonders if he’s all there mentally. Then again, her mother was a little odd, running a puppet ministry and collecting enough dolls and puppets to fill the house. Things that they’ll need to get rid of to sell the house so she can move on.
But nothing is as simple as expected. As anticipated, dealing with Mark only leads to fights and long-buried memories surface the longer she stays in the house. Something is really off, and it goes beyond a bad vibe in her childhood home. Strange knockings come from the attic, she swears the dolls move, and why is the attic door boarded up? Louise wants to get this business over with as soon as possible, but the house proves to be the greatest impediment since it doesn’t want to be sold.
I’m not a big fan of the horror genre. I credit reading The Amityville Horror when I was a preteen with scaring me bad enough to mostly leave it alone. Still, I have another Grady Hendrix book in my TBR pile and this one kept popping up everywhere, so I gave it a go.
When I finished the last page, I had two thoughts. The first was, “What the hell did I just read?” The second was, “I’m damn glad I don’t have any dolls or puppets in the house.” Because the dolls and puppets in this book are Creepy. Yes, that’s a capital C. Like in Annabelle creepy.
The creep factor was most definitely present and accounted for but underneath that, the author tackles sibling relationships, familial trauma, and grief. In fact, the book is brilliantly divided up into the stages of grief and unfolds slowly enough that just when I thought I’d wrapped my head around the weirdness, something else even stranger unfolded.
As stated above, this isn’t my normal genre to read so I might not be the best judge, but overall I wound up enjoying it. I wanted to throttle Louise’s ex but fortunately he was a minor character. Aside from him, all of the cousins and aunts were memorable and, despite this being a tense, wth? read, a lot of fun.
Final rating: 3.75/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐+
Until next time, thank you for visiting.