House by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti

I used to love reading books by Frank Peretti. I haven’t read one in a long time, I’ll admit, but I remember them being interesting and creative. I also really liked the book Blink, by Ted Dekker. So when they teamed up to write House, I was pretty excited. Then I read it…

This review contains spoilers so if you plan on reading the book and don’t want to know what happens, don’t continue with this post.

Obvious is the word I’d use to describe the plot and action of this book. It’s obvious from the first few pages who the bad guy is, it’s obvious who the hero is, it’s fairly obvious who will die and who will live. It’s like this book was written just to keep the authors in our minds while they buy time to write the good stuff. It’s as if their publishers said, “Horror is selling right now. Write a horror, but make it about sin and the devil so our Christian readers know it’s safe.”

I want to say that at least the writing was done well, but I can’t. The way the characters spoke and the things they said; I have never heard anyone talk like that. It was hard to believe that they could be real. Stephanie was more self-centered than anyone I’ve ever met and her me-me-me attitude rivals that of Donald Trump, a cartoon character if I’ve ever seen one. Randall was just far too blind and gullible. SPOILERS: it’s too unbelievable that in just a few hours he was wholly convinced that it was good and right to kill his own wife. He had to have had severe mental illness before walking into that house, in order to just slip right in to the role of murderous psychopath like a well-worn glove. Jack was the most obvious and predicable character there could have been, the hero with a tragic past. We’re led to believe he has a major secret, just like the rest of them, but he really doesn’t. And Leslie, well actually I think Leslie was the most well-developed of all of them. There really wasn’t anything that surprising about her but her behavior in the house was at least congruent with her back-story.

I read Blink by Ted Dekker many years ago and remember liking it. I’ve read I don’t even know how many of Frank Peretti’s books and enjoyed them all. It’s too bad the pairing resulted in such a stiff-feeling story with paper-thin characters. Read Blink or Peretti’s This Present Darkness instead.

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