Horror Review: The Grip of It by Jac Jemc

This one maybe isn't for everyone but I enjoyed it.


The Grip of It by Jac Jemc
Horror Fiction
Released August 2017
Amazon | Goodreads | Better World Books 
A chilling literary horror novel about a young couple who purchase and live in a haunted house. Jac Jemc’s The Grip of It tells the eerie story of a young couple haunted by their new home. 

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.

Written in creepy, potent prose, The Grip of It is an enthralling, psychologically intense novel that deals in questions of home: how we make it and how it in turn makes us, mapping itself onto bodies and the relationships we cherish.

My Thoughts:

First posted at Ladies of Horror Fiction

3 1/2 Stars

I’m not going to sugar coat things. This book was work and it was not a quick read. Not by a long shot. The chapters were super short so you would think the pages would fly, right? No. They absolutely do not fly. The writing style was literary, I knew that going in, and the language was lovely and often gutting in its honesty but what I didn’t anticipate were the alternating POV’s of the married couple who are haunted by their new house (or were they?). Every single time a new chapter began with the other’s POV it would throw me out of the groove of the story and take me several moments to get back into it. And since many of the chapters were only 2 – 3 pages long there was a lot of mental jostling going on here. Perhaps you won’t have this issue and this much of a struggle but I’d be lying if I didn’t cop to it.

With that said, the book was a treasure trove of eerie atmosphere and emotional turmoil. The writing was truly striking and the crushing and stifling dread closing in on the couple? Phew, I’m still feeling the remnants of those claustrophobic, paranoid feelings days later. Their struggle, their worry, and their confusion? That stuff was so amazingly well done. I LOVE that sort of writing thus I was determined to see this book through to the very end. Were they going mad together? Was the house haunted? Or was it something more sinister and grounded in the real world? And what was up with the weirdo neighbor? I’m not telling you any of these things because I am not 100% sure of the answers even after finishing it. I had to get this book back to the library so I’ll have to do a reread on audio someday to see if I can find all of my answers to all of my pesky questions.

So, do I think you should read it? Perhaps and perhaps not. What I do recommend is maybe grabbing yourself a sample and reading the first 50 -75 pages and see how it works for you personally. The Grip of It isn’t a book that will appeal to everyone but, damn, that writing was lush and I am sucker for lush writing especially when it’s creepy! I have zero regrets.


Comments

  1. I actually have a copy of this thanks to "the box that shall not be named." I plan on reading to someday but for now, I want nothing to do with that whole experience, including reading this book.

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    1. lol, don't let that horrible experience taint the books but I know exactly how you feel :( I'm going to read the books I received and then donate them to the library. I don't want anything NRB touched sticking around my house.

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  2. I would love a house with hidden rooms. I don't want a haunted house though.

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  3. It's the perfect time of year for a book like this. I'd definitely give the first 50 pages a try. ;D

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  4. I did a double take. I knew Id read your review already. LOL

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    1. Yep, I'm double dipping. Sorry about that. It's only going to happen with the books by the ladies. I'll still be reading lots of men as well.

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  5. I like the creepy haunted house but the constant switching back and forth with povs would be a bit much.

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    1. I've heard from a reliable source that it is much better on audio.

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  6. Oh you and your horror reads! But hey, very timely. I need one of these thrilling reads this month. Lol.

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    1. Yes, read one! Or better yet, read ten so I can read your reviews :)

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  7. I didn't get the box reference so I had to go and look it up...wow what a mess!!! If I'd been in the US no doubt I'd have been subscribed to it too. As for this book I'm not sure the switching POV would bother me as much as ending the book unsure of a few things!

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    1. That NRB saga is such an unbelievable mess. I've deleted all of my unboxing posts. I am in no way every going to endorse a thing they do. They have treated everyone in the horror community abysmally. Yeah, this one leaves you with the vague ending, that's for sure.

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