Review: “The House the Devil Built” by Benjamin Hively

TITLE: The House the Devil Built
AUTHOR: Benjamin Hively
COVER ARTIST: Agata Broncel
GENRE: Horror/Thriller
LENGTH: 187 pages
RELEASE DATE: January 27, 2017
PRICE: $5.94 -e-book / $13.99 -paperback


After purchasing a plantation home in the picturesque town of Acadian Springs, Louisiana, in the heart of Cajun country, Ashton and Dillon hoped the peace and quiet of this town would allow them to escape the insanity and problems that had forced them to move from New Orleans. Soon they find themselves facing more than just the problems that had precipitated their move. The hypocrisy and harassment they find from the majority of their new neighbors are a far cry from the sleepy, laid back town they had expected.
Fueled by the strange goings on in their home and the actions of the local townspeople, inner demons begin to manifest into something larger. Ashton, Dillon, and the whole town of Acadian Springs, LA, find themselves fighting against ignorance and morality, pride and prejudices, and eventually, even their own mortality.

jologooptimummIt took a while for me to get into this book but once I did, it was a real page turner. This is a supernatural horror story with an MM twist and a very powerful, emotive plot. Ashton and his husband Dillon have moved to an old plantation house that’s been on the market for a long time. The low price had proved irresistible, but they were never informed why! Ashton has just finished three months rehabilitation for a drink and drug habit brought on by his mother’s death and fuelled by depression. Dillon bought the new house to help them escape the temptation of the city, but the house has an evil history which soon makes itself known. I felt so strongly for these two men, going through so much, yet just wanting to be accepted and live a quiet life.

Terry took over as pastor of the Baptist church in Arcadian Springs from his father, and he has hopes that his son, Luke, will take over from him, though that looks less likely as the years pass. He visits the two men who have moved into the plantation house only to be horrified that they’re homosexual! He believes it’s his duty to rid the town of these abominations against God and he mobilises his congregation to do just that before they can spread their evil into the town. Terry angered me so much with his ego and arrogance that I found it hard to read about his actions against Ashton, Dillon and other innocent victims, and yet I felt compelled, almost, to bear witness to his hateful machinations.

When the front of the plantation house is vandalised with anti-gay graffiti, it falls to the sheriff, Mark, a friend of Pastor Terry to investigate. His investigation of the hate crime makes him question his own beliefs and his understanding of both friends and family. His family is torn apart by Trevor’s actions, and his own changing feelings and in the process tragedy strikes close to home and he’s swept down a path not completely of his own choosing.

The terror at the plantation continues to grow and the pace of the horror story, set against the bigotry of Pastor Terry and the church congregation, builds. This story involves demonic possession, rampant homophobia, and themes that are very emotive and is not for the faint-hearted. It’s not an easy read, but it is compelling. Ashton, Dillon and Mark are set on a course of confrontation amid the tragedy that’s become their lives. The tension heats up, and the run-up to the climax of the events had my emotions working overtime and my heart in my mouth. The outcome is absolutely right for the whole tone of the book although it’s not a totally comfortable conclusion, but there are no loose ends. I can recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t mind being swept away on a tide of strong emotions.

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC.  My review is an honest opinion of the book***


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