Book Review: A House at the Bottom of a Lake

A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman review
Both seventeen. Both afraid. But both saying yes.

It sounded like the perfect first date: canoeing across a chain of lakes, sandwiches and a beer in the cooler. But teenagers Amelia and James discover something below the water's surface that changes their lives forever.

It's got two stories. It's got a garden. And the front door is open. It's a house at the bottom of a lake. 

For the teens, there is only one rule: no questions. And yet how could a place so spectacular come with no price tag? While the duo plays house beneath the waves, one reality remains: just because a house is empty doesn't mean nobody's home. 

Right we'll address the elephant in room with this book first, it's published by This Is Horror which would lead many to believe that you're about to read a horror novella. Well that would be ever so slightly inaccurate, this is not a horror story in the true sense by any stretch of the imagination, I did however find it quite strange, eerie and good at building suspense. Keep in mind as well that this is a short story, so a lot is seemingly packed into a very small time frame. I could easily look past this but it might be a but of a bugbear for some. 

When Amelia and James find a house sunk beneath a lake, they know they must explore it. When they get down there what they find seems to defy reality. All the furniture is in place and in perfect condition, there's clothes in the wardrobes and even a swimming pool in the basement. From the first moment they see the house, the pair are under it's spell. They spend every spare moment exploring the house and marveling at the mystery, it completely consumes them. They agree not to question how or why the house is there but can they really keep their curiosity under wraps, especially when it seems like they might not be the only occupants of the property.

For the most part, I quite enjoyed this book. I think it packed a good level of suspense into a short story however I would have liked to have seen a more traditional horror/supernatural element to the story that the publisher and the tagline "just because a house is empty doesn't mean nobody's home" would lead you to believe is present.

 Rating: ★★★

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