Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Book Review: The Bargaining by Carly Anne West

The Bargaining by Carly Anne West cover
While I found The Bargaining to be creepy in places, I also found it to be very slow and tedious.

Penny is suffering from some event that is slowly revealed as the story progresses. Her mother can't handle her acting out, so she sends her away to live with her dad and his new wife, April.

April is a Realtor who flips houses. She has just purchased an old Victorian, sight unseen, and is anxious to work on it over the summer. Since Penny's dad won't be around, she must come with April to live in this run down dump for the summer and help her with the restoration.

The house has much more to offer than just bad electrical and plumbing. Seems there's been some children disappear from the closest town many years ago, and no one will have anything to do with the old house and especially the deep woods surrounding the house.

Penny slowly tries to get to know some people in the small town, but most of them clam up as soon as she mentions she's living in that house. And the house is creeping her out. There are noises and a strange mural in one bedroom that changes...things get added as the story progresses. Then, Penny gets visits from small children who look like they are screaming, but no sound comes out.

Penny thinks she's losing it, but she believes it has something to do with the event that's been troubling her -- the loss of her "friend" that she blames herself for.

April is just frustrated because she can't find anyone to work on the house.

It's an interesting premise, and The Bargaining is downright spooky in some parts--even a bit horrifying. But mostly I found it to be very tedious. Once they get to the old house, nothing really happens until the climactic ending. Yes, there are spooky things, but it seems the same thing happens over and over, and it is many pages before Penny begins to sort things out.

I ended up feeling rather indifferent towards The Bargaining. It wasn't bad. The writing was fine, and the premise was interesting, but I just got a bit bored in the middle. I'm not really a horror reader, but some of the ghosty things were a bit confusing to me.

If you are a die-hard horror fan, and you like haunted houses The Bargaining might be for you. I don't feel like my time was wasted, and I never thought about not finishing it. The blurb compares it to The Shining and while it may have some plot elements in common, that comparison is a bit lofty when comparing the execution of the story.

Published by Simon Pulse, February 17, 2015
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
416 pages

Rating: 3/5

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