The Douglas family just recently had their second child. Money is tight, really tight. And now it looks like there is a malevolent force haunting them. It wants their torment and their blood. The Douglas family may not survive this darkness.
Blake and Alyssa are trying very hard to make a happy family. Their son, Mal, is perhaps 8 years old. Baby Ruthie was just born and already she has a severe medical condition that has both parents deeply worried. But there are centipedes to exterminate. Yep. A swarm of centipedes popped out from the crawl space beneath Mal’s bed. Ugh! Why did it have to be centipedes? I am an insect lover… but that warm fuzzy feeling I have for bees, butterflies, beetles, and even tarantulas does not extend to centipedes. So right away, I am a little freaked out, which is what any good horror tale should be doing.
Blake has ghosts of his own that are raised from the past because of all the stresses he is under… and perhaps that malevolent force has something to do with it too. He came from an abusive household and while he has never done anything harsh to his family members, he constantly worries that he is a bad parent or husband. This aspect of Blake made him very human to me and easy to connect with. The guy hasn’t put his past to rest and this recent bought of crap he has to deal with brings it all to the forefront. Just where the evil ghost who is haunting them wants it.
Alyssa is the quiet, subtle hero of the tale holding the family together even as she feels beaten up and torn (literally from the recent birthing). She reassures Blake often that he is a decent human being and tries very hard to hold her own emotions in check to keep the kids reassured.
We also get to see a good chunk of the book through Mal’s eyes. He does a good job of being a kid but also observing all the stress signals his parents are giving off. He tries very hard to be a good brother to Ruthie. I found that some of the scariest scenes were seen through his eyes because he’s just a kid and shouldn’t have to deal with ravenous centipedes or malevolent ghosts.
The plot had some nice twists and turns. There’s some turn of the century photos of dead kids, a few journal entries from a case file on a serial killer, a bike messenger with an interesting paranormal ability, and plenty more. The ending caught me off guard. Even though I was hoping this story wouldn’t have a happy ending (a statement that probably makes me look a little deranged), I wasn’t prepared for how it did end. Yet, once it was laid out before me and all the connections drawn out, I felt that it all made sense and that was really the only way this tale could end. Additionally, Collings provides a personal note at the end about his missionary work and domestic abuse that was a very nice touch. I will never look at ‘I Love Mom’ tattoos the same way again.
I received this audiobook from the narrator (via the Audiobook BlastNewsletter) at no cost in exchange for an honest review.
The Narration: Scott Thomas has a remarkably creepy voice! And he put it to very good use in this book. He had nice voices for the Douglas family, and passable female voices. Then he had a deeply disturbing voice for the malevolent ghost. There were also times in the narration where something tense and spooky was going down and his voice would reflect that.