Cover Image: The House by the Cemetery

The House by the Cemetery

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A very enjoyable read, creepy, sexy, and atmospheric. This is my first Everson read and I'd be glad to go back for seconds.
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** spoiler alert ** How to say this...I almost gave this 2 stars, but I added a third for sheer volume of dead bodies. I feel like this is a B-grade version of Brian Keene’s Ghost Walk.  There are a handful of sex scenes—none of which are great. (One says something about the woman gripping “his manhood.” Are we doing regency romance or horror here?) The massacre is a bit over the top (particularly the spikes and dead body mountain bit), but I did read through the end. I felt like some of the characters were off, and there was a lot of niche and obscure horror movie title dropping. It was okay for cheesy horror, but just okay.
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I have taken my time in writing this review. I am still not totally sure how to rate it though. The Prologue is amazing, the epilogue is amazing and there are part of the book that literally made my hair stand on end. But... there is a lot of fluff in the book, and the fact that it kind of bashes fat people and seems a bit strong on mentioning race. It does not bash race just mentions it for no reason at all. I am not racist at all and do not care what color or nationality characters in the book or in life are, so why bring it up. Also Mike is a strong character in ways but a total waste of time in others. When he meets Katie who is way to young and to me for him but he gets totally lost in the fact that he wants to get into her pants and overlooks all the weirdness surrounding her. 

There are some good points to the book as well and I did get through the whole book. This is a haunted house story. There is an old house that has been abandoned for years and has been reported as not just haunted but very haunted. When Perry a friend of Mike's buys the house and property to build a Halloween Haunted house attraction he hires Mike to do the restoration in order to make the house safe and to bring it up to code. Almost immediately things happen in the house from subtle noises to full on apparitions. Mike needing the job overlooks it all and pushes on. 

This would be an amazing horror story with a bit of rewriting. The concept is awesome. 

I received this book from the Author or Publisher via and chose to leave this review.
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The House by the Cemetary was chilling, to say the least. I absolutely loved this horror story. I liked how it switched between narratives, and also we got some back story as to the plot. It was the perfect chilling, thrilling and gruesome story about a haunting of an old house that was then turned into a “haunted house” for halloween tourists. Beware of entering because you may not ever get out alive! It was very original as a haunting story goes. It’s been quite some time since I have read a book and was afraid to turn the page!! Highly recommended for horror lovers and halloween enthusiasts.
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Review copy

John Everson writes some of the darkest horror imaginable, sprinkles it with a healthy dose of sex, and yet it's easy to believe every word he puts to paper.  His latest story, The House by the Cemetery is the quintessential October release.  The tale of a purportedly haunted house by a cemetery being refurbished as a Halloween attraction.

John wastes no time by giving us a small taste of things to come, right in the Prologue...

"Someone had slit the woman's throat.  The murder weapon lay nearby on the floor., the knife's silver blade coated in dark read.  A spray of blood bled down the wall beside her in visual opposition to the light that bled up the wall.  If was a study in opposites...the only constant was the color."

The House by the Cemetery is filled with fully fleshed out characters.  There's the flawed carpenter hired to refurbish the house just enough to make it safe for hundreds of people to pass through every night leading up to Halloween.  The paranormal investigator out to protect the spirits in the house and by extension, the patrons paying to be frightened.  The team of room designers, effects artists, and actors doing their best to scare the nightly visitors.  And then there's the witch of Bremen Coven.

Everson's love for his craft is evident throughout.  I've found myself reading a number of haunted house stories this year.  For me, it's the trope that never gets old an this is a particularly effective story.  More fun than any haunted attraction I've ever been to.  Just in time for my favorite holiday.  If you only read one Halloween story this year, be sure to make this the one.  As a footnote to any movie producers who might see this.  The House by the Cemetery would make one helluva film.


The House by the Cemetery is published by Flame Tree Press and is available in every format imaginable.

From the author's bio - John Everson is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of 10 novels of horror and the macabre, including  Redemption, the conclusion to his demonic Curburide Chronicles trilogy.  He also is the author of four collections of short horror fiction, including his latest, Sacrificing Virgins.  John shares a deep purple den in Naperville, Illinois with a cockatoo and cockatiel, a disparate collection of fake skulls, twisted skeletal fairies, Alan Clark illustrations, and a large stuffed Eeyore.
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I would like to thank Flame Tree Publishing and Netgalley for this partnership.

I was immediately attracted by the cover of this book, we see a young woman in the forest.

It all starts when you suspect that an abandoned house on the edge of a cemetery is haunted. For the carpenter Mike, he won't mind fixing it up. It seems that a witch is haunting the place, there are noises in the walls, blood on the floor. A ghost wants to reopen this house with lots of people inside for Halloween for a ritual.

A book read in one go so much I hooked on the story so captivating, full of suspense and twists and turns. Looking forward to reading more books from this talented author.
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It's always refreshing to read a really good horror story, especially one with lots of twists and turns that takes you on a journey to an unexpected destination.

This is an utter page turner of a book, with just the right amount of gore and suspense to keep you entertained. It's crying out for a sequel, perhaps one with a hint of redemption, just to keep you guessing. As it is, I loved predicting who was going to survive and who would fall by the wayside - the novel definitely plays with genre expectations.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC without obligation.
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I have a love-hate relationship with The House by the Cemetery by John Everson, and it’s really tearing me apart. I absolutely enjoyed the story itself, but there’s a few issues, one of which is a huge red flag, that I simply can’t allow to go unspoken–and if other reviews are any clue, I’m not the only one that’s immensely bothered by it.

The story involves a witch that died in 1963, a haunted house, a haunted house attraction, and a lot of characters (too many to keep track of without a notebook, actually). Hired to repair the haunted house so that guests can safely walk through it, Mike Kostner spends much of his time drinking beer and talking with the girls, Katie and Emery. At the same time, Jeanie’s been hired on as a makeup artist for the upcoming attraction and drags her boyfriend, Bong, into it. Then there’s Jillie and Ted, paranormal investigators. And then there are three other groups of people to form more members of the cast, which I found to be extremely overwhelming.

At this point in my review, I usually talk about characters and their development, what I like about them, what I don’t, etc. In this case, I can’t really do that. The only character I managed to forge any sort of emotional connection with was Jeanie, and it’s mainly sympathetic. As for the rest of the roles played, I’m largely disappointed. Why? Because there’s a severe lack of sensitivity in this novel–which has been mentioned in several other reviews. There are four characters whose sole defining characteristic is either their race or their weight. There’s no depth given beyond that to them as an individual. The remarks dealing with weight are largely shaming and those dealing with race are stereotypical. And here’s where I’m going to take a moment to discuss the character Bong, which I feel is the most blatant insult to another race’s customs that I’ve seen in a long time.

Bong’s full name is Bong-soon Mon. Phonetically, that sounds a lot like “bong soon man.” It’s not overly obvious if you’re not familiar with Korean names, and Bong-soon is an actual name used in the drama Strong Woman Do Bong Soon. However, in this case, Everson shortens Bong-soon, which is actually the character’s name (whether it’s his first or last, I’m not sure), to Bong. Thus he makes it more of a laughing matter (really, it’s not funny), whether it’s intentional or unintentional. Usually I’m not sensitive to these types of material, but in this book the way it comes across is really bothersome and, like several other readers, I agree with the idea that this book desperately needs an edit for sensitivity. Please bear in mind that I read an arc of this book and so I’m not sure if any of these issues were addressed in the final publication.

Plotwise, I adored this book. I can’t go too much into detail without sharing spoilers, but I can say this: the Everson does have a talent for creating beautifully grisly, albeit somewhat repetitive, scenes. The bloodbath that takes place near the end of the book is a glorious gore-fest that I felt the rest of the story worked up to quite well, even if it crawled earlier on while Mike was working on the house. As for the setting, it’s well written. I liked the idea of a house next to a cemetery, and its easy to infer its age without being told: it’s too close to a turnpike to have been put there before the turnpike was built. I was, however, confused by the juxtaposition of a heavily wooded house and cemetery in close proximity to a city or town, as in my experience turnpikes usually don’t have exits between major locales. At least, not very many present-day ones do, as most of them have been converted to, or created as, a controlled-access highway, where intersecting roads tend to cross over or under so that they do not impede traffic. That said, it strikes me as weird that a single house and cemetery would have an exit from a turnpike.

So I decided to google cemeteries and turnpikes, and what did I find? Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery is an actual haunted locale found in the suburbs of Chicago. And yes, it actually is that close to a turnpike! If you like to watch Ghost Adventures, the cemetery was featured in a 2012 episode. Also, the cemetery is extremely old. Even better? Many of the ghost stories referenced in the book are actual tales surrounding the cemetery. It’s actually pretty fascinating and I wouldn’t even have known about it were it not for Everson’s book.

Overall, I did enjoy reading this book. I loved the homage to horror movies of all types, including lesser known genres. I absolutely adored the way in which some of the characters were manipulated, too. Hence why I stated early in this review that I have a love-hate relationship with it. Because of the lack of sensitivity though, and the way I was made to feel as a reader because of it (I’m overweight, after all), I can’t give it more than three skulls.

I’d like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book for review.
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4 Stars!

John Everson blew me away when I first read his works in early Delirium Books.  Since then, he has never failed to entertain with his style of horror that walks on the extreme side.  I started The House by the Cemetery expecting more of the same and I was not disappointed. 

The house by the cemetery had been abandoned for years and with a good reason.  Everyone knew the stories of the witch that was rumored to haunt the house.  This did not Mike Kostner from purchasing the house.  In fact, it made it even more attractive.  With a dream of building the ultimate haunted house for Halloween, he could think of nothing better than renovating an actual haunted house.  Fear would already surround the property and marketing would be a breeze.  He also knew that there was nothing to fear from the house.  After all, haunted houses were only creations of those with strong imaginations and special effects skills and not ghosts and the undead.  The supernatural was nothing more than superstition. 

Mike Kostner took the job of rehabbing the house and preparing it for the Halloween haunted house season reluctantly.  It was, quite simply, the only steady work he could find.  His luck seemed to take a turn for the better with the steady paycheck and, even more, with the beautiful woman who occasionally turned up to help him.  As his deadline approached, he came to love the mysterious woman and he thought he may have found the woman of his dreams.  Even her dark secret could not deter him.  She was the witch of legend but she only wanted to live once more.  Mike began to think that even though the legend of the witch was true, it was largely blown out of proportion.  Then came Halloween when the witch would once again return to the living and the harsh reality that the woman of his dreams was actually his worst nightmare. 

The House by the Cemetery features a large and colorful cast of characters and may actually have a few too many characters.  The story seemed to get off track at times as more people passed through the story with a description of their backgrounds or strange tastes and talents.  This made the story feel a little choppy and cluttered at times.  The story also held few surprises and it was easy to see where it was going from the outset.  The plot is one that has been done many times before so there was little suspense as to where it was going and what the final outcome was going to be.  The story is a well-worn path that fans of horror have been down before.  With this in mind, it would have been easy for the story to become boring and mundane. 

Everson never lets that happen, though.  I was caught up in the story from the first page to the last and the action was fast and unrelenting.  This is by no means a deep novel but it is a quick and fun read for those who like their horror to run along the border of the extreme without quite taking that step over the line.  I was often reminded of the horror films I watched when I was younger when you just knew that the character was going to do something stupid and get killed then laughed and cringed when the character did just that.  “The House by the Cemetery” is simply a fast-paced and fun read that is sure to thrill horror fans looking for entertainment rather than enlightenment.  Everson again proves why he is so good as he has crafted another novel that that I would definitely read again. 

I would like to thank Flame Tree Press and NetGalley for this review copy.  The House by the Cemetery is available now.
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Thank you so much to NetGalley and Flame Tree Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion. 

I felt that this started off slowly, maybe too slowly as I contemplated stopping at one point. However I did persevere and things started to get going around a third of the way through. 

The story is pretty much a fictional bloodbath with a supernatural element to it. The characters within the story were a little stiff and their reactions were pretty predictable but as the book went on, I did find that I wanted to know how it ended and therefore I kept going. 

I’m generally a fan of horror books but unfortunately this one wasn’t for me.
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I received a copy from Netgalley.

This book was immensely fun in a twisted way. Haunted houses are my favourite type of horror movie, from the downright creepy to the laughably bad and gory to the what the fuck did I just watch? This book reads like a combination of all of the above. 

Down on his luck Mike is in desperate need of a job, his buddy Perry has a plan to renovate a spooky old house into a Haunted House attraction in time for Halloween. The house is in the perfect creepy location next to a cemetery and there are boundless rumours of the house being haunted. Satanic rituals and murders on the property. Anyone who’s ever seen a horror movie or read a horror novel should know that to logical people building a haunted house in a place with this kind of history should scream bad idea, bad idea! Something is going go hideously wrong!

And of course, therein, lies the fun. 

Mike starts building the house, a girl Katie, and her creepy friend appear and random intervals, Katie is pretty and younger than Mike. She and her friend start helping Mike with the renovations. Weird things start happening, odd noises, strange…things…turning up out of nowhere.  Meanwhile a host of other characters are introduced, the people who are getting involved in designing and making the haunted house.  The set designers, the costume makers and prop-makers, the actors, the makeup artist and her boyfriend. They get together and start working on their project.

And at the same time, two paranormal investigators are ranting about what a spectacularly bad idea this haunted house thing is. Restless spirits, a dark place etc. Their attempts at getting into the house fail miserably.  Katie has a secret. Halloween night arrives and with it, a blood bath! Not a lot happens until the opening night of the attraction, its short chapters, lots of characters. And the plot doesn’t require any kind of thinking or figuring out deep ulterior movies or anything.  It’s atmospheric and has some creepy moments. The characters have absolutely no depth to them. The secret behind the old murders, and weird things happening is just stupid. And there is a murderous rampage of epic proportions. But it doesn’t matter how ridiculous it all is. 

It’s entertaining, and daft haunted house fun is the whole reason for reading it. Thoroughly enjoyable. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Flame Tree Press for approving my request to view the title.
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I have thankfully received a digital ARC of John Everson’s “The House by the Cemetery” from Flame Tree Press via NetGalley for an honest review.

The House by the Cemetery is a story well told. The author, John Everson, has a writing style that deeply draws the reader into the book. I even woke up one night, after reading this book, from a slightly disturbing dream. The images from the story stick with you. This is a story that will literally haunt you. I can frankly see it becoming a popular Halloween film someday. Everson’s writing style and grammar are expertly done. 

The House by the Cemetery does have some very graphic slasher film scenes near the end of the story. And there are a few moderately graphic sex scenes in the book. While reading, I paused and thought so this is what romance written by a male author is like. Interesting, but it is by no means a “romance” novel. This story is pure horror and thriller. There is a ghost, a witch, murder, murder, and more murder. If you relish a good spooky story as I do, then you will love this book. But, reader beware if you dare to enter The House by the Cemetery!
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It is hard to find a good old fashioned ghost/haunted house story. That being said this one isn’t too bad. But it isn’t all that I had hoped. 

The main character is hired to fix up a “haunted” house and yet when weird things start happening he doesn’t seem the least bit ill at ease. I mean I realize that the main character can’t exactly run out screaming at the first sight and never go back since the book would be done then but still he should at least a bit startled. 

The end has a bit more gore than I wanted as well. But then that is just my like/dislike.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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As a horror fan I thought House By The Cemetery would have everything I was looking for in a horror novel. Sadly I was wrong and struggled to finish it.

Filled with bland characters, it was overlong and predictable and that’s about as much as I can muster in this review.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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The House by the Cemetery is meant for horror fans. You know who we are. We're the ones that go to the midnight showings of classic Carpenter, Craven or even Argento or Fulci flicks. We have the wal-to-wall collections of horror Blu Rays. Halloween is our national holiday. And we go to haunted houses, no matter how crappy of an attraction they are. That's us and that's who Everson wrote The House by the Cemetery for. We get it. We understand the industry and HOUSE has everything that we love about it.

A dilapitated house sits vacant by an abandoned cemetery. Outside of thrill seekers, it's been dormant for many years. But the rumors are passed down from generation to generation. This place was used for a cult killing by a group of witches back in the 1960s. Stories of ghosts hitchhiking nearby, strange happenings and haunted tales permeate the local legends for years. The house is a royal pain in the ass for the county. Law enforcement has to chase off ghost hunters and thrill seekers every year. So when a local entrepreneur comes calling and offers to turn the property into a haunted house attraction, the county jumps at the chance to alleviate this headache and score some bucks in the process. Mike, a down-and-out handyman, is hired to renovate the place so that they can turn it into the tourist attraction that it was envisioned to be. Wouldn't you know it, Mike learns that every rumor has a grain of truth somewhere and you can't keep a good witch down. 

While HOUSE has a fantastic setting that is just screaming for a horror story to be written about it, the characters are the glue that hold this story together. Mike is a likable guy that you can easily relate to. Katie is that mysterious, flirtatious girl you've seen work her charm on numerous lonely guys, over and over. The cast and crew, putting together and running the attraction, all have personalities that we know like the back of our hands. It all feels comfortable and familiar. This is how Everson is able to pull this story all together. Sure, there are some parts where you kind of roll your eyes, maybe a character should ask a few more questions, but they're not deal breakers. HOUSE is easily the best thing Everson has written. The guy has talent and you can see it in his past catalog. Hell, you don't get a Bram Stoker Award for being a hack. But, for me, HOUSE is the story where he put it all together. Atmosphere, character development, dialogue, interesting storyline, an homage to the genre that I know and love, and suspension of disbelief. Some writers age like a fine wine. Here's to hoping for an extended run of this particular vintage very soon. It's intoxicating.

4 1/2 Secret Rooms out of 5

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This story was all over the place. Too many characters introduced and then discarded only to reappear in random places. Characters were so unsympathetic that it was difficult to care what happened to them. A bit of a letdown if readers are looking for a scary ghost story.
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2.5 stars rounded to 3
I received a free copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an house review.

I love haunted house stories, and a haunted house by a cemetery—I'm sold! But this book and I didn't get along very well. The characters seemed compelling at first and then consistently disappointed me. For example, the handyman: He seemed competent until he started obsessing over a too-young woman named Katie, and I lost interest (and respect) for him. Maybe a sexy young woman playing hard-to-get is a fantasy for some readers, but if that's not your thing, this character is hard to relate to. It was gratuitous. There was no emotional connection between them, and there was way too much back and forth between them for something casual.

The ghost hunter duo caught my attention right away and then lost it. The female character seemed smart and capable and then quickly proved she was neither. It read like someone who wants to write a competent woman but has never met one before. Sorry, that's harsh, but it's honest.

The rest of the book probably would have entertained me more if I didn't dislike the characters so much. There was some good scene-setting, some creepy moments (another reviewer called them "unsettling," which is a perfect word), and a great premise. It just didn't resonate with me—the horror was great, but I wasn't a fan of the people.
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Atmospheric and gripping to the last page! Plenty of gory details, it actually made you feel like you were actually there.
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And another one I was hoping was going to be really good but I was kind of let down. I was hoping for a really cool haunted house story and the beginning started out okay and then Katie showed up. I guessed who she was right from the start and thought Mike was incredible stupid and only thinking with his hormones and loneliness and he drove me crazy. Even when he figures out who she is he is still STUPID!  He made me so mad that even when the cool slasher style ending happened I didn't enjoy it and I really think he deserved what happened to him in the end so I didn't even fill bad for him because he was a moron.

I did enjoy the POV's of the people who was coming into the house to fix it up as a haunted house and felt somewhat bad for them all at the end. Their parts of the book just wasn't enough to turn the book around for me.
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This book was an okay read; I wasn't fully unliking it, but wasn't super into it either. 
It felt dragging - I don't understand why we got so much of the story over the (re)building and preparation of the house instead of the haunting of the haunted house itself. The horror in it didn't had any effect on me either and just felt really long to read overall.

The idea was a good one, but could've been done better.
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