TITLE: In the Shadow of Spindrift House
AUTHOR: Mira Grant
AGE RANGE: Adult
Nature abhors a straight line. The natural world is a place of curves and softened edges, of gentle mists and welcoming spirals. Nature remembers deviation; nature does not forgive.
For Harlowe Upton-Jones, life has never been a straight line. Shipped off to live with her paternal grandparents after a mysterious cult killed her mother and father, she has grown up chasing the question behind the curve, becoming part of a tight-knit teen detective agency. But “teen” is a limited time offer, and when her friends start looking for adult professions, it’s up to Harlowe to find them one last case so that they can go out in a blaze of glory.
Welcome to Spindrift House.
The stories and legends surrounding the decrepit property are countless and contradictory, but one thing is clear: there are people willing to pay a great deal to determine the legal ownership of the house. When Harlowe and her friends agree to investigate the mystery behind the manor, they do so on the assumption that they’ll be going down in history as the ones who determined who built Spindrift House—and why. The house has secrets. They have the skills. They have a plan. They have everything they need to solve the mystery.
Everything they need except for time. Because Spindrift House keeps its secrets for a reason, and it has no intention of letting them go.
Nature abhors a straight line.
Here’s where the story bends.
Humanity is an aberration, an affront upon all that is right and true and holy.
What a ride. It never ceases to amaze me, the way Mira Grant can fit such a thoroughly well-developed, deep story into so few pages. There are countless writers who require hundreds of pages to do what she can do in a few chapters, and it astounds me every time. This one took me a bit to get invested into, but I think that must have been singularly to blame upon my horrible four-month-long reading slump, because by the time that slump passed, I devoured this novella and was devastated when it ended.
It is a graveyard for the small and a playground for the vast, as all graveyards must be, for tragedy is so often a matter of perspective.
First, I want to talk about how casually and effortlessly diverse this is, just like nearly everything else I’ve had the pleasure of reading from this author: our narrator is an out lesbian (who happens to be tragically in love with her best friend), the narrator’s adopted brother suffers from tremendous levels of anxiety, and our side characters are Asian-American. There’s also an implication towards a character being aromantic, but it’s never stated explicitly on-page.
Spindrift House has been allowed, for most of its long and lonely existence, to stand alone.
Next, there’s the beautiful writing. I must have highlighted nearly half the novella in my kindle because there were so many incredible quotes. Mira has this way of painting scenery through metaphors that feels totally and uniquely her own, and it always leaves me with the vague consideration of getting entire paragraphs of her stories tattooed on random places on my body, just for the daily reminder that any one human being could be so capable of leaving such vast impressions on me with the quietest statements.
Spindrift House has had a great deal of time to decide what it wants to be, and what it wants to be is unforgiving.
And finally, there’s the story itself. While there’s something fantastically nostalgic about the Scooby Doo-esque feel to this little mystery-solving gang all grown up, it never diminishes the looming threat that Spindrift House plays out over the entire cast of characters. There’s a touch of bizarro and Lovecraftian inspiration to the events that occur in these pages, with a great deal of dark fantasy twisted in, and it’s all deliciously chilling.
Whether you’re a long-time horror lover or someone who only dips their toe into the genre from time to time, I cannot recommend highly enough that you take a visit to Spindrift House and see what its seaside decay has in store for you.
All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Subterranean Press for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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