Release Date: July 19, 2022
Publisher: Tor Books
“Come home.” Vera’s mother called and Vera obeyed. In spite of their long estrangement, in spite of the memories — she’s come back to the home of a serial killer. Back to face the love she had for her father and the bodies he buried there, beneath the house he’d built for his family.
Coming home is hard enough for Vera, and to make things worse, she and her mother aren’t alone. A parasitic artist has moved into the guest house out back and is slowly stripping Vera’s childhood for spare parts. He insists that he isn’t the one leaving notes around the house in her father’s handwriting… but who else could it possibly be?
There are secrets yet undiscovered in the foundations of the notorious Crowder House. Vera must face them and find out for herself just how deep the rot goes.
Vera Crowder returns to her home years after she left. Her father had died in prison years before after being arrested for killing people in their basement, and her mother, always distant and cold, wanted nothing to do with her husband’s special little girl. Now her mother is teetering on the edge of death and Vera has been summoned to clean out the house. Also living there is the artist son of an author who exploited Vera’s family horror for his own financial gain. Why her mother has let this dude stay is beyond Vera, but it’s clear he has his own agenda, even if she can’t figure out what it is.
Anyway, she has more important things to deal with, such as who is leaving fragments of her father’s journal around the house and what is tormenting her in her sleep. That the Crowder House is haunted is a given. The only real question is who is doing the haunting: a monster or monstrous humans?
Another 10/10 book from Sarah Gailey. I don’t reach much horror—don’t like graphic violence—but Just Like Home was just the right amount of bloodiness and unsettling creepiness for me to get into it. Although this is marketed as fantasy, it feels more like a contemporary take on Gothic horror. It’s a blend of toxic family relationships and a haunted house, along the lines of Shirley Jackson and Vincent Price. The audiobook is narrated by Xe Sands, of whom I’m a huge fan. I only had a print ARC, but I’ll definitely be re-reading it on audio.
Just Like Home is a book I recommend to not just horror fans but readers who don’t like horror but can tolerate looming dread and psychological distress.
Buy it at Bookshop.org (affiliate link)