Available now from Mulholland Books
HOME IS WHERE THE FEAR IS…
The house where Sarah McAdams grew up has always terrified her. But now she’s moved back with her daughters, determined to put her childhood fears behind her.
It’s harder than she thought. Increasingly haunted by the past, Sarah soon realises that the present has its own threats. One by one, teenage girls are disappearing…
Frantic for her daughters’ safety, Sarah feels the house’s walls closing in on her once more. Somewhere deep in her memory is the key to a very real danger.
And only by confronting the terrifying truth can she protect her children from a nightmare that is roaring back to life…
In Close to Home, we have two main plot lines; that of Sarah McAdams and her daughters returning to Sarah’s childhood home to renovate the grand but dilapidated house, and the kidnapping of local teenage girls. Of course, when you have two avenues like this within a book, you know they are eventually going to link up – unfortunately it is pretty obvious how they are going to link up, and so you spend much of the time just waiting for that to happen.
Although I would say this a ‘readable’ story; I wouldn’t particularly call it very enjoyable. Yes there was a bit of mystery to pique my interest, and a little bit of leading me up the garden path as well, however this was overshadowed as there were just far too many flaws.
First of all it was all a bit trite; the old haunted house, the repressed memories, the rekindled high school love (literally with the boy-next-door!), the small town life, the difficult mother/daughter relationship, the tensions between the rebellious teen and the popular girl and the naturally ensuing stealing of the boyfriend… I could go on!
Then there was the fact that there was such an array of characters and yet I couldn’t find a single one to like. Sarah’s relationship with her daughters makes for uncomfortable reading. I get that they are unhappy about having to up sticks to the land that time forgot, but there seemed to be zero love between the three. 17 year-old Jade hated her mother for dragging her from her friends, boyfriend, etc, (although this meant she was missing a grand total of, I think, two) and 12 year-old Gracie seemed to believe everyone was beneath her, and was also completely and utterly useless at foreseeing the coming danger to her family considering how “gifted” she was with the premonitions and such.
As for the ‘love interest’ Clint Walsh, well he was more wooden than the picket fence dividing their properties, and seemed to be there purely for the want of a bit of forced romance. Oh, and there is a whole paternity plot in there that I simply cannot fathom the necessity for. There are a good number of other characters in there that had the potential to be brilliant – but were all very meh… oh and the ex-boss, who had been on precisely three dates with Sarah before she called time on that ‘relationship’, playing the spoilt rich brat who doesn’t like “No!” who then decides to set up camp on her land with the old binoculars…really?!
The ‘twists’ in this story were not exactly very twisty; like I say I was led astray with one mystery regarding Sarah’s past and the flashbacks that she suffered since returning to the house, but where I kept thinking “I know this is what the writer wants me to think, so I wonder how she’ll spin it…” well it was “spun” precisely by being exactly the event I’d presumed but just with somebody else in the spotlight…and it was all a bit icky and didn’t fit the feel of the rest of the book. As for the kidnapping culprit, well we are naturally led to believe it is the local ‘no-gooder’, and so much is focussed on it being him that of course it wont be, will it? And so who was it??? Well obviously it was that guy that you in no way care about because, as his known character, he has had all of one appearance and two lines in the whole book!
I can absolutely guarantee that there will be people who really enjoy this book, I certainly didn’t hate it. But it just had far too much going on – most of which was completely unnecessary. Some of the fat needed cutting, and the lean seasoning.
My thanks to the publisher for providing this book for review.