In the Shadow of Spindrift House by Mira Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I opened my copy, saw this novella was dedicated to "beloved Catherynne Valente," and knew I'd be at home in spite of the obvious Lovecraftian theme evidenced by the cover illustration. Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire) has given us a Lovecraftian tale in the vein of Ruthanna Emrys' recent retellings- a kinder, less racist and xenophobic Lovecraft world. For you see, I've never been a Lovecraft fan, since I find his original works pretty repellant. (See for instance here if you don't understand why I dislike his work.) It is, however, with relish that I read authors like Emrys, or here, Grant/McGuire, spinning Lovecraft's ideas on end, re-envisioning all that was creative in his work, so that it is better, finer, and more of a celebration of diversity.
In the Shadow of Spindrift House gives us the story of Harlowe Upton-Jones, a young woman whose childhood is forever scarred by the murder of her parents. She was found at age four, in a car with their bloody corpses, and few clues as to the reasons for their fate. Raised in Chicago by emotionally absent grandparents, she finds her real home and family with her chosen brother/friend Kevin, and is one of a quartet of teen detectives along with Kevin and his friends Addison and Andy Tanaka. (If they sound like the quartet from Scooby Doo, you wouldn't be wrong...) Harlowe, who is not so secretly in love with Addison, suggests a job that may be the teen detectives' last gig together, since they are outgrowing their situation, including local law enforcement's tolerance for their antics. The gig is in a remote area of Maine, trying to uncover the deed or information about the rightful owner of the mysterious Spindrift House. Located in a place called Port Mercy (RED FLAG), with a slew of intrusive/restrictive conditions set by those contracting them to find this information, you'd think the Scoobies would know from the get-go that this job simply isn't worth the risks. Well, Kevin knows, but Harlowe pushes ahead, trying to do right by her girl Addison. Things don't go well, but they seldom do in haunted houses with dark histories.
This was an engaging, fast read and I enjoyed the audiobook, too. Narrated by Jesse Vilinsky, this would be a great sleepover party audiobook. Just hope the power doesn't go out, leaving you in the dark. ;)
I received a Digital Review Copy from Subterranean Press in exchange for an honest review.
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