Fright House, by Fred Wiehe, is an excellent manifestation of modern YA horror. Wiehe blends characters, settings, and suspenseful elements, stereotypically expected of the horror genre, into a delightfully disturbed foray into the macabre. This fast-paced book keeps the reader anxiously turning pages right until the very end.
In a desperate bid to stay open through Halloween, the owner of a popular Halloween attraction brings in a team of paranormal investigators, under the supervision of a teenage site manager, to quell the rumours of disappearing staff members, but it doesn’t take long for the group to realize they’ve bitten off more than they can chew.
Wiehe brings together a classic group of characters in a vivid and unsettling former asylum, creating ambiguity around reality. His combination of Halloween attraction, insane asylum, and paranormal investigation successfully rejuvenates these well-worn tropes into something more intriguing. Wiehe weaves immersive imagery for the reader to navigate, artfully balancing humorous and quiet moments with violent depravity and shocking gore. Although he plays on some of the most well-used horror elements, Wiehe’s main characters are interesting and dynamic, sucking the reader into their struggles.
The few complaints I have are, in all fairness, nit-picky. The digital edition of the book I was provided for review purposes had some relatively minor, but consistent formatting errors throughout; I always find these distracting. There were also numerous places where words, phrases, or images were repeated for effect, but came across feeling redundant instead. Perhaps, if used less frequently, they may have built the suspense intended. Neither of these weaknesses ruined my overall enjoyment of the story though.
Despite not typically favouring this style of horror, I thoroughly enjoyed Fright House. If you love watching paranormal investigation shows, or creepy, haunted lunatic asylums, I highly recommend checking this book out!
Amanda King – May 2, 2022