The House by the Cemetery

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

2.5 stars

This one is quite the mixed bag for me, and I had to take a bit of time after reading it to gather my thoughts. I did enjoy quite a bit of this - especially the last 50 pages or so - but I had some issues with it overall.

The premise immediately pulled me in - I'm a sucker for haunted house stories, and absolutely love haunted house attractions. I also love stories about witches, so I thought this one would be a total home run for me.

The story follows several characters as they prepare in their different positions for the opening of a haunted house. From the start, things immediately head into the wrong direction. The handyman hired to fix the dilapidated house discovers some really horrific stuff, and despite his initial protests, carries on with the renovations anyway. The show must go on, as they say!

The characters were easy to distinguish, although I'm not sure of the necessity of so many characters, nor was I invested in the personal drama between a few of the more minor ones. 

Unfortunately, one of my biggest problems was the fact that rather than telling them apart because of their particular 'voices', I was forced to keep them separate mentally by the author's incessant need to remind me of their race/physical attributes. I'm pretty sure that every single time any non-white character came into play, it was repeated (sometimes more than once per page) that they were, in fact, of another race. Similarly, another of the characters is repeatedly described as being fat, chunky, heavy, stocky, etc. I understand the desire to describe characters so the reader can build a mental image of them, but this was too heavy-handed and really felt more problematic than I'd have liked.

For the characters themselves, I didn't find any of them particularly unlikable - except for Mike.

Ahh, Mike. My other issue with the book! It's actually painful how absolutely desperate for any female attention he is. He spends the entire book making really frustrating choices in between drinking a bunch of cans of horrible hipster beer and feeling sorry for himself. I found myself wanting to read more about the other characters, especially Argento and Lucio - the old horror film buffs, intent on creating a masterpiece homage of the house itself. There really just wasn't anything to like about Mike, which isn't my favorite thing to say about someone I spent a majority of a book with.

As I mentioned, there were things to enjoy here. I was pretty entertained throughout, and found myself enjoying the ride despite my problems with it. Similar issues occur in many B-rated horror movies, and I felt that this one was enjoyable in that same way: you aren't really rooting for anyone, you sort of hate them all, and those things make the inevitable gore & bloodshed all the more fun. The last bit of the book was fast-paced and contained the right amount of violence & exposition to really round it out; I enjoyed the ending, although I wasn't at all surprised by the "twist".

I would recommend this to someone who may not be put off by the things I mentioned being troubled by above, especially for anyone who enjoys a good haunted house scare/gorefest.
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Every town has that notorious house where - if the legends are to be believed -something horrible took place and is now haunted. In Bachelor's Grove, that house is in the woods next to a cemetery, and according to the rumours, it was once occupied by a witch. It's a spooky old house and seems like the perfect place for a haunted house attraction to a man named Perry. He recruits his carpenter friend, Mike, to repair the house before the Halloween season. But there might be some truth to the stories about the witch, as Mike, Perry, and several haunters and hauntees come to discover.

The House by the Cemetery reminded me a lot of a B horror movie. It was a fun and gory read. I loved all the horror movie references. Each room in the haunted house was inspired by a different horror movie (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Curtains, among others) and they were designed by the haunters, who love horror movies - two were even nicknamed Argento and Lucio.

The only part of the book I found lacking were the characters. In true B movie fashion, the main character, Mike, wasn't very bright and at times I just wanted to yell at him. There were a lot of characters and sometimes I had a hard time keeping them straight. I had an especially hard time telling Jeanie and June apart. Their names were similar, they were both makeup artists for the haunt, they both loved horror and Halloween, and they were both interested in the same guy. But I still found all the haunter characters, and their love of horror and Halloween, relatable.

Although I didn't love all the characters, I still enjoyed the book. If you're a horror movie fan looking for a book to read this Halloween, The House by the Cemetery would make a great choice.
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I love haunted house stories,Unfortunately, The House by the Cemetery failed to live up to almost all of my expectations. The book switches perspectives often, the primary main character is Mike, the handyman who’s been hired to make the old abandoned shack usable enough for a season as a haunted house.I could've done without the "romance" angle with one of the characters - it didn't really add or take away from anything in the book... just felt a little unnecessary.I think THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY is a decent choice for the Halloween spooky season if you’re in the mood for some creepy thrills, some foolish characters and a sea of blood.
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I’ve never read anything by John Everson, but as he is a Bram Stoker award-winning author, I was expecting a lot from his horror novel, The House by the Cemetery. This novel is about-you guessed it-a house next to a cemetery, which is supposed to be haunted. 

This book is an excellent read for the Halloween season—chills, thrills, bumps in the night, blood, and horror all-around. As a fan of horror novels, I appreciated the attention to detail. However, I felt that certain things were too obvious and too predictable, particularly with Katie. 

Overall, it’s a fun read, but I’m not sure I would call this novel Everson’s greatest work, or even a unique Halloween read.
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This book started out very good. But, due to the length, it lost something along the way. This would have been an awesome short story. By adding the extra pages, it took something away from the story line. OK read but not fantastic,. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the ARC of this book. Although I received the book in this manner, it did not affect my opinion of this book nor my review.
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Rumor has it that the abandoned house by the cemetery is haunted by the ghost of a witch. But rumors won’t stop carpenter Mike Kostner from rehabbing the place as a haunted house attraction. Soon he’ll learn that fresh wood and nails can’t keep decades of rumors down. There are noises in the walls, and fresh blood on the floor: secrets that would be better not to discover. And behind the rumors is a real ghost who will do whatever it takes to ensure the house reopens. She needs people to fill her house on Halloween. There’s a dark, horrible ritual to fulfill. Because while the witch may have been dead... she doesn’t intend to stay that way.

The plot for this book could’ve been so much better.
I loved the setting of the haunted house opening for Halloween and the themed horror rooms were great, the nod to many obscure but brilliant movies wasn’t lost on me as I am a big fan, so was quite disappointed in the way the plot panned out.
Creepy and atmospheric to begin, with a good introduction to characters, got me looking forward to this story however, I never really liked any of the characters and therefore was never truly captured by the novel.
Also, the full on roll into carnage just didn’t sit right with me, nothing was fully explained and I can’t say I really cared in the end.
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As a huge fan of John Everson, there were few Flame Tree Press titles that I was more excited about than The House by the Cemetery. An abandoned house by an abandoned cemetery. Stories of Satanic sacrifices and ritual murders. A decades-old haunting by a real witch. Hidden rooms, secret doors, unexplained blood, and coffins in the basement floor. Is there a better place to build a haunted house attraction for Halloween, much less a better setting with which to build a story?

Unfortunately, as excited as I was, I have to be honest, I was disappointed in this. For one, it's too long. This feels like a great short story, or even a solid novella, stretched out and padded into a full-length novel. It takes far too long to get going, and when it does, it's largely formulaic. There were no surprises, no shocks, just the confirmation of plot twists I suspected from the opening chapters. It doesn't help that the characters are horror cliché foolish, prone to poor decisions, and blind to what's going on around them.

Now, with all that said, there was some great atmosphere to the opening 50 pages . . . some creepy, unsettling scenes that I just wish the book could have sustained. Similarly, the final 50 pages are over-the-top bloody fun, chaotic horror that really takes advantage of the haunted, haunted house setting. The prologue is one of the best scenes in the book, followed closely by the epilogue, which means it begins strong and ends strong. It's just a shame that there are so many prolonged soft spots in between.

The House by the Cemetery is just fine for a bit of B-grade Halloween horror, but don't judge Everson by its flaws - he's a much better writer than we see here.
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This was a fantastic horror book. I don't read many nowadays but this was great. An old house, meant to be haunted, what better place to set up a haunted house for Halloween? The writing was good and the characters worked great together, the horror theme worked throughout the book for me along with a nice vivid imagination!
Loved it
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Horror is one of my favorite genres. This is a really good horror story. I liked reading about getting the haunted house ready. The gory parts were awesome. 

I received a copy from the publisher and NetGalley for an honest review.
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*thank you to Netgalley and Flame Tree Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

2 stars.

So this was just OK. I'm a bit unsure how I really feel about this book because while I didn't really enjoy it, I didnt not like it either. The description of the story sounded so so good. I love haunted house stories. But this wasn't scary. It was kinda bland, for lack of a better word. I found my thoughts drifting quite a lot which just tells me that I didnt form a connection with the characters and that the story just didn't interest me. Still, I am glad that I read it, because as I said, it wasnt bad, just a rather casual, slow paced read. Would I recommend it? Well, if your wanting a real horror hit then sadly no. But if you are after just a light read with maybe a little mild creepy story, then yeah why not.
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Perry has decided that the perfect place to build a haunted house attraction is in an actual haunted house. He gets his friend Mike, who is a carpenter struggling for work, to fix up the house enough so that it's safe for horror lovers to traipse through all October. Mike, desperate to pay his bills, takes the offer and begins to fix it up himself. But weird things keep happening: the basement has animal sacrifices, he finds a wall with human bones behind it, and two young women keep showing up to "help" him out. 

Meanwhile, the haunting coordinators plan to go all out creating an homage to a horror movie in each room. The set designers, make-up artists, and actors are all ready to deck the house out. And it's a huge success, well, except for one thing...

The march up to the conclusion is bloody and gore-filled, but a bit predictable. Overall, it was fairly fun though!
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This book is a very good read for the Halloween Season.  The story  begins in a town called Bachelor's Grove where there is an old cemetery deep into the woods with an old abandoned house immediately next to it.   There are rumors of deaths happening in the house and also stories of a witch who once lived and died there and has resulted in subsequent hauntings and sightings, if you're prone to believing these stories.  
     After a few decades of deterioration and emptiness, the house is purchased with hopes of becoming a great Halloween haunted house attraction involving some of the best horror set designers and makeup artists that have worked on many of the best horror sets in the industry.   Hopefully the month of October will be a real money maker and become a true Halloween legend for all the hard working cast and every team member who signed up for this ground breaking project.

     I enjoyed this book very much and the writing is very descriptive, so for me it is a visual experience while reading.   The prologue had me immediately captive, unable to to leave this book unread.   The story started nice and easy with a sense of eeriness and foreboding in the background.   There are several main characters and many others who have smaller roles in the book.   I enjoyed the complex cast with their personalities being so different and not knowing how the story would revolve around them or the jobs they were given throughout the story.   I loved the fact that this was about a haunted house attraction and not a typical  ghost story, so the story keeps drawing you in to find out what is going to happen next.
     The book is well-written, although for me there were a few inconsistencies yet they did not interfere with the storyline.

Warning!   The second half of the book can be quite gruesome and disturbing for some readers.   This is a true horror-fest so "Reader Beware" !
     I do recommend this book and have given it a rating of 4 Scary Halloween 🌟🌟🌟🌟 stars!!

I want to thank Flame Press and Netgally for allowing me to read this book free of charge for my honest and unbiased opinion.
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"The House by the Cemetery" is one of the best horror books I have read in a long time. Many horror stories, whether it be novels or films, have a tendency to be kind of clunky, without great transitions and sometimes with huge holes and timeline errors that need the reader to suspend belief. John Everson evades all of these pratfalls that seem to plague the horror genre. Instead he gives us a coherent, logical, and believable novel that really grips the reader and does not let go until the last sentence.

The story involves Mike, a carpenter who is not doing very well with finances or his love life. He is given the change to renovate a house that is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a witch. The purpose of this renovation is to turn it into a haunted house for the Halloween season, the most frightening haunted house that can be mustered. What ensues is a bloodbath. There are bones in the walls, rituals in the basement, too many kills to even count, and the a great novel. I really like the homage to so many horror movies. Even the title is after a Lucio Fulci film (one of the haunted house designers is named Lucio, another named Argento), and even though Everson spends a little more time on the Italian horror for the rooms in the haunted house, he also includes many American horror movies. The entire novel just works so well.  

John Everson has written many novels, but this is the first one that I have read. It is such a good starting point in his works that I recommend this to everyone that I meet. It is as good a starting point as any. The entire novel is a treat. 

I received this as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
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I absolutely loved this read and what greater timing than October? While on the surface this may seem like just another horror/gore read, I believed there was a lot more riding underneath, specifically, the manipulation of the human condition, in this case Katie's manipulation of Mike by taking advantage of his vulnerability having recently divorced, and using sex as a way of distraction. There is much more here than a Halloween read.
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Everson’s new novel is a well deserved treat for all horror fans.  Taking a premise that deals with making a haunted house attraction in an actual haunted house and mixing it with horror films extraordinaire would be a hard pill to swallow.  In the capable hands of Everson, we are rewarded with an excellent novel that doesn’t shy away from true horror with a depth of emotion thrown in to make a well rounded fully realised story.

The story starts out with a legend of a house that is home of a witch who died.  From this starting point, we are given full fledged rounded characters that are fully realised.  We have a pair of paranormal investigators giving the prophesy of doom and a group of people who love horror and actually live it in their fandom lives.  This is where Everson masterfully crafts a story that makes you care for all the characters involved.

The only downfall to this expedition is the character of Mike and his weakness .  I found him weak and pathetic though he works very well in this world.  To contradict this point, he is well written but I found him frustrating but he does work and the story would suffer without him in it as you need this balancing point.  The only other sour critique I can really give is that the female names are a bit too similar to each other and it was kind of difficult to get them straight in my mind.  These are very minor critiques in the overall play of the novel.

The setting and legend are very well described and handled and Everson proves he is a worthy winner of the Bram Stoker Award.  He doesn’t write in pretentious prose but writes deep and interesting characters in a fantastic setting giving the novel something to relate to and care about.   He shows off by the way of showing his love of horror films which is cleverly woven within the narrative.  This is a very richly written book that never lulls nor does it ever fail to satisfy the reader.  

In recent years, horror has always had its ups and downs especially in the horror market where we have a lot of imitations to the King throne with a lot of failed attempts.  Due to self publishing saturating a market with a lot of questionable debut, it is important that true lovers of the genre find Everson’s work as they will realised that horror bypasses the millennium humdrums of King and Hill and that there is some excellent talent out there ready to take over the throne.

House by the Cementary is an important piece of work for the modern horror fan.  He has taken the normal tropes of the genre and added and spiced them up to fit a world that is jaded within the horror community.  He is excelled in every way possible with a good read that is solid contender to the world of horror.  This is must for all dark fiction readers.

Overall, this is a winner of a book and a fantastic ode to the genre fans with rich characters, fantastic plotting and an accessible writing style that yearns the reader to want more.  This is one of those books that I will be recommending to all our listeners on our podcast and will definitely be edging our subscribers to read in our next newsletter.  This is love letter to the world of horror told in an original thought provoking story.  This is one of the must reads of 2018.  Highly recommended.
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3.5 stars When I read a horror book, I always wonder if it would translate well into a movie. I'm a fan of cheesy B-grade horror movies.  This book would do fairly well as a b-grade slasher flick. There is a lot I liked about this book.  If you aren't a fan of gore, then you probably won't like this book. But, for the fans of gore out there, the last half is a fairly intense.  That only add to the appeal of the experience.   I also like the creep factor of the house.  I'm not sure I would want to work on a house like that even during the day.   I also loved the ending. 

What I wish was further explored was the mythology behind the witch.  We get some back story, but I'm wanted more.  I think that was the purpose of Jillian's character, but she didn't do enough of a good job at explaining things.  As for the other characters, there were few that I cared enough about to root for.  The one person I did like survived, so that was a bonus.  I won't spoil it by telling you who it was.  Mike was a bit clueless.  He should have seen the reality of his situation long before he did, but then the alcohol may have been masking his judgment. He pretty much got what he deserved in the end.

Overall, this was an enjoyable October read.  It was a good story to set the mood for the month.  This is a new to me author, so I'll have to check out his other offerings.
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Everson has written a very good book here which is an interesting combination of haunted house story and witchcraft story. Using the opening of a new haunt as a backdrop, this story builds its tension slowly, before ramping up to a powerful, grotesque ending. The bridge of bodies is an image I won’t shake anytime soon. A scary, fun ride to take going in to Halloween.
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The idea of a haunted house attraction that is actually haunted drew my attention and with Halloween approaching, it seemed appropriate for the season. The cover also sets the stage for a creepy and perhaps sinister tale. In that vein, I suppose this one does deliver, but it took a rather meandering route to get there. The story tends to slog along for quite some time, actually about the first two-thirds or better. There are the occasional creepy scenes, some of which are quite chilling. However, there are a lot of characters introduced, and many of them receive much more page time than needed. Character depth is one thing, but the time taken with some felt like so much filler. Then we have our main character, Mike, the handyman hired to get the house ready for the season. Again, even for a main character, we're given way more than we need for the story. I get it, he's a carpenter and working on the house, but I don't need details of bracing ceilings or laying floors to get the picture. Aside from that, I found Mike to be rather single-minded and well, not very bright. The lust angle is one thing, but I just can't imagine anyone being so completely ignorant of things as this guy. The story does eventually ramp up and we get plenty of Halloween creepiness and gore, but it was just too little, too late to save this one for me. Tightened up and trimmed down, this story could be a real chill-fest in that B-movie kind of way, but as it stands, it just doesn't do the job.
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The House by the Cemetery by John Everson reads a lot like a horror movie. I could picture it all unfolding vividly in my mind as I read through (sometimes horrified, sometimes laughing) page after page of this thriller.

This book has all of the necessary components for a good spooky read: witches, murder, haunting, psychics, mystery... So it's a good Halloween pick. I actually got scared a couple times while reading in the dark, so maybe leave the lights on if you want to sleep at night!

I enjoyed the characters in the book and the attention it brings to the lack of diversity and stereotyping in the horror genre. While there's no way for me to know if the author purposefully meant to do so, I thought he did a good job of "calling-out" some things while not taking away from the story at all. 

The main character, Mike, is a carpenter that's hired to work on the abandoned house his friend plans to open a haunted house in. Mike is pretty much terrified of the house, but agrees because he's in need of the job. For the most part, I liked Mike, but at times he seemed way too gullible. Unless he was under some sort of a spell, I just don't see him actually agreeing to some of the things he does. 

A problem I have with the mystery genre in general is that I hate guessing "the mystery." This book has quite a number of twists that didn't really surprise me. That being said, there were other aspects that did... One of the hardest parts of reviewing a book like this is not giving away spoilers, so that's about all I can say here.

While this wasn't my favorite mystery/thriller novel, I'd still recommend it for adults that enjoy horror movies such as Nightmare on Elm Street, since the book definitely has the same tone/vibe. Because of sexual content/suggestion and the level of blood & gore description, I'd definitely only recommend it for adults though and wouldn't recommend it for my teens.

Thank you Flame Tree Press and NetGalley for providing me with a free digital review copy of The House by the Cemetery. This in no way influenced my review.
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This book is very much a horror story. The last time I watched a horror movie was back in the early 90s.  When the author brought up the titles, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Chainsaw Massacre, and etc for the haunted house, talk about flashbacks!   Good old memories.

Let's start with the book.  The plot was good, some of the characters were good, ideal house in the cemetery totally reminded me of the horror movies.  It appears to be written for the movie but that's just me.  
Here are couple of things I have a problem with, There were lots of characters in the book, some were really unnecessary.  The ideas and themes they had for rooms were way too far fetched because from what the house was described, the rooms were too small. Rooms weren't built large back then.  There were some things that did not factor in well for me in the book.
However, if you truly enjoy the total creepiness, bloody gores, spells and etc that makes you think of all the horror movies you've seen, then you'll totally enjoy this book.  I'll give it 3 1/2 stars.

I received this horror ARC from Flame Tree Press through Net Galley in an exchange for my honest unbiased review.  Thank you.
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