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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer


The Haunt

By J.N. Williamson
Leisure Books, 363 pp, 1999

This book's premise is promising. The Kidd family, now composed of two thirty-something brothers, Ray and Jack, has been both cursed and protected by a mysterious force, or presence, that lives somewhere in their huge house. The brothers have never been sick or injured. But if they breaks the force's rules, or violate its twisted sense of decency, the force punishes them. It killed both their parents for just those reasons.

Understandably, the brothers are eager to escape this presence, but it follows them wherever they go and can hurt anyone who associates with them. For example, the force thinks that Ray's current girlfriend isn't worthy, so it punishes Ray when he visits her, then later kills her.

Like I said, this plot shows promise, but Williamson doesn't carry it off. It's not very scary, and that's never any good for a horror book. The ending is also very lame and smacks of the Wizard of Oz (read it and you'll see what I mean). But it's more than that. It's drenched with sex and unnecessarily graphic and tiresome descriptions of, ah, certain body parts. The secondary characters aren't very interesting.

The writing is okay, so that's why I finished it, but other than that, nothing stands out or recommends itself. This is my first Williamson book, and I hope the others are better. He's got a great reputation in the horror writer community. Maybe his other novels are better.

To be honest, I'm not all that interested in finding out.

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