If you were trying to combine the talents of H.P Lovecraft and Shirley Jackson you might very well get a story a lot like In the Shadow of Spindrift House, a dark coming of age story.
Harlowe Upton-Jones is at the end of her teen years. She’s grown up tough, always asking questions and digging for answers since her parents were killed by some strange cult. Now she leads a group of teens in a detective agency, but she knows that the novelty of being teens who are very good at what they do, is soon going to wear off and so she’s looking for one last assignment before they begin work as adults.
The stories about Spindrift House are about as varied as the number of stories themselves. It’s an old house, run-down and spooky, and no one has spent time in it for a very long time. But there are people willing to pay good money to get to the bottom of determining who owns the property now. Harlowe is certain that her team of teens can cut to the bottom of the mystery. They have everything they need … intelligence, determination, and a plan. What they don’t have, is time. And Spindrift House has kept its secrets for a long time and it isn’t ready to let go of them just yet. In one of her steps to becoming an adult, Harlowe will have to make a tremendous sacrifice.
Although this is sold as a limited edition book, it’s not really a novel, but a novella. Perhaps even a novelette. And the only reason this is important is because it doesn’t really have the length to allow Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire) to do what she does best, which is to develop really strong characters who become surrounded by story. Our main protagonist, Harlowe, is well defined, but the other characters, her associates and the house itself, fade into the background too much. I like Harlowe’s journey, but I didn’t feel as drawn into the story the way I expect in a Mira Grant book.
But if you want a dose of horror, in the tradition of Lovecraft or Shirley Jackson’s the The Haunting of Hill House, but with the adept hand of modern master Mira Grant, then In the Shadow of Spindrift House should be on your to-read list.
Looking for a good book? I wouldn’t turn down anything by Mira Grant, but In the Shadow of Spindrift House, is not her strongest work. Still, it is a nice mix of gothic horror and YA mystery.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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In the Shadow of Spindrift House
author: Mira Grant
publisher: Subterranean Press
hardcover, 200 pages