Samantha's Reviews > In a Dark Place

In a Dark Place by Ray Garton
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Mar 01, 09

bookshelves: suspense-thriller
Recommended for: Horror fans
Read in March, 2009, read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** I read this book TODAY. Picked it up to skim the first chapter, then found myself unable to put it down. My mom recommended this book to me and loaned me her first-edition copy, so I just want to say...thanks, Mom!

The Snedekers live in New York until their oldest son, Stephen, is diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. When the commute back and forth between NY and CT becomes too much and too costly, the family moves to Connecticut, closer to Stephen's doctors. That's when it begins.

It turns out, their new home is the downstairs apartment in an old Colonial house that used to be a funeral home. In the basement, the Snedekers discover all sorts of macabre tools and rooms. But having exhausted their resources, they decide to stay and not tell the kids. But...

The day they move in, Stephen tells his mom they need to leave the house because the house is evil. She, of course, doesn't believe him. Things progress. Stephen insists he hears a voice calling his name from the basement and sees things moving out of the corner of his eye. But still, no one believes him. When his younger siblings start seeing things too, their parents blame Stephen for scaring them and putting ideas in their head.

Ultimately, Stephen changes. He finally gives in to the demands of the voice and starts to do its bidding. He listens to dark music and draws disturbing images on his sketchpad. He becomes surly and rude to his family and cold and distant. When he molests his cousins, that's the last straw. He is diagnosed as schizophrenic and admitted into a mental hospital. He warns his family that now that he's gone, whatever's in the house will start attacking them.

He's right.

Things start moving and disappearing. Everyone starts to hear voices. Empty light sockets glow with illumination. Swarms of flies infest the house, then vanish. Terrible smells of rotting meat waft through the house, then are gone. The two oldest females in the house are sexually assaulted and molested by invisible hands. There are cold spots.

Eventually, pushed past the limits of being able to explain it away, the Snedekers call on the Warrens, paranormal investigators of some reknown. They determine that the house is indeed possessed by a powerful demonic presence and appeal to the Catholic Church for permission to perform an exorcism.

Permission is eventually granted, but not before weeks of unspeakable torment is visited upon the Snedeker family.

In the end, the demonic presence is forced from the home, but nothing is ever the same.

Horror stories usually aren't my thing, but this one was fascinating. And creepy. And something I'm glad I read while the sun was still out.

There is some controversy as to whether or not this is actually based on a true story. Some say yes, others no (including, apparently, the author himself). But regardless of whether it's fact or fiction, it is a riveting book.
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