Review of Crooked House by Joe McKinney

crooked house

“Review of Crooked House by Joe McKinney”

by Max Booth III

“You come into a man’s house with evil in your heart you better expect to get the horns.”

Crooked House is a novel with balls. It takes every haunted house trope in fiction, stuffs them all into a blender, and mixes together a milkshake so delicious, you can’t help but gulp the whole thing down in one sitting.

I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy of this before it hit the shelves over at Dark Regions Press. I had previously reviewed Joe McKinney’s other new novel, Inheritance, which I still rave about whenever I find the opportunity. So obviously I was very excited to get my hands on his latest work—this one being a story about a haunted house. I’ve always been a fan of this kind of tale. There’s so many ways to be innovative when it comes to the haunted house, I just love seeing the new ways authors express their creativity.

Crooked House was no exception. To me, it would have been impossible to top Inheritance, but McKinney came pretty damn close with this new book. Sharing similar themes as The Shining, McKinney tells us a story about a Mr. Robert Bell and his family, who move into a new house called Crook House (I am sure you can see where the book’s title comes from now). Like stories of the genre, it does not take long before the house’s past begins to unravel and all kinds of crazy things happen. The slow atmospheric build-up of eerie circumstances will leave you so full of tension that by the time you finish this (quite short) novel, you’ll have grown wrinkles on your face and you hair will have turned white.

And the ending, while I will not spoil, I will mention that I absolutely loved. Like I mentioned, Crooked House is a novel with balls. And once you finish the ending, you’ll see what I mean. It’s been a long time since I read a book that took its own path, that decided screw formula, I’m gonna end it like I want to end it. You can feel the passion McKinney burned into this book, and it is wonderfully hideous.

“[…] certain people are like the light sockets in your walls, and whatever is in that house, is like a plug. Certain people are just made to connect with it.”

When McKinney released Inheritance, he showed us all how a proper ghost story was supposed to be told. With Crooked House, he has proven that he is a master of the genre.







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