Sarah O'Connor

Writer – Playwright – Cannot Save You From The Robot Apocalypse

“Alone in the house, though, we become less aware of it, like a persistent, dull headache. Deaf to the sound, until the still silence of ownership settles over us. Maybe we decide we will try to like the noise. Maybe we find comfort in it. Maybe an idea insists itself more easily than an action,” (Jemc 4).

I discovered The Grip of It on a Facebook Group for House of Leaves where one of the members shared the book saying that it was similar. While The Grip of It is only similar to House of Leaves with it’s creepy house, it is a scary and tense and is a story that has definitely stuck with me.

Young couple James and Julie move into a new house in a small town after James has admitted to being addicted to gambling. Thinking that the change in scenery will be good for James’ addiction and the couple as a whole and they are eager to move and put the past behind them. But this house is more than they thought with it’s hidden rooms, stained walls, and a neighbor who won’t stop watching them from the window. Julie starts getting bruises all over her body, ones that grow and renew themselves and mold infects the water in their taps. James and Julie have only each other, but are they helping or harming one another as they each try to survive the house?

I absolutely adored this book. Jemc keeps the novel fairly simple and vague which may not attract all readers, but vague books are some of my favourites. We don’t learn a lot about James and Julie, only that they’ve been married for a few years, that James is a gambler, and that neither of them want children. We are introduced to James and Julie looking at and then deciding to buy the house that the story revolves around. Though we don’t know much about James and Julie, the way Jemc writes how they interact with one another, think about each other, and live together says more than any history possibly could.

Jemc is also a master at suspense. The fear and horror in the book isn’t blood and jump scares, it’s a subtle unease that creeps under your skin and stays their forgotten until it suddenly starts to burrow itself deeper into yourself. A shadow in a room, a wet spot on the wall, a plot in the garden that may or may not be a grave, a humming noise that won’t stop. Little things that in one way can seem ordinary, but once night falls become terrifying.

My only issue was the ending and that it comes a bit too fast and final. While their was definitely a chilling aspect to it I wanted more of an ending, something that felt more final. It just seemed to lose steam with the tenseness of the book.

The Grip of It completely took me in and terrified me. It’s an unsettling story using the simple haunted house trope but a powerful one. You can’t help but be gripped by this novel!

Publication: August 1st 2017
Publisher: FSG
Pages: 276 pages
Source: Bookmobile
Genre: Fiction, Adult, Horror, Thriller
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤

“Julie and James settle into a house in a small town outside the city where they met. The move—prompted by James’s penchant for gambling, his inability to keep his impulses in check—is quick and seamless; both Julie and James are happy to leave behind their usual haunts and start afresh. But this house, which sits between ocean and forest, has plans for the unsuspecting couple. As Julie and James try to settle into their home and their relationship, the house and its surrounding terrain become the locus of increasingly strange happenings. The architecture—claustrophobic, riddled with hidden rooms within rooms—becomes unrecognizable, decaying before their eyes. Stains are animated on the wall—contracting, expanding—and map themselves onto Julie’s body in the form of bruises; mold spores taint the water that James pours from the sink. Together the couple embark on a panicked search for the source of their mutual torment, a journey that mires them in the history of their peculiar neighbors and the mysterious residents who lived in the house before Julia and James.”

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