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The Grip of It

3.26  ·  Rating details ·  5,731 ratings  ·  1,149 reviews
A chilling literary horror novel about a young couple who purchase and live in a haunted house. Jac Jemc’s The Grip of It tells the eerie story of a young couple haunted by their new home.

Julie and James settle into a house in a small town outside the city where they met. The move—prompted by James’s penchant for gambling, his inability to keep his impulses in check—is
Paperback, 276 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by FSG
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Average rating 3.26  · 
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 ·  5,731 ratings  ·  1,149 reviews

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Kevin Kelsey
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2017
Posted at Heradas Review

This short novel thoroughly creeped me the hell out. It’s been a few years since I’ve read anything that maintains this level of unease throughout. It’s not intended to be outright scary, instead it maintains an eerie tone (think VanderMeer’s Annihilation) and punctuates it with some genuine goosebump moments that snuck up on me. The narrative plays the POV characters’ relationship woes (something we can relate to) against a supernatural backdrop (something we cannot).
Amalia Gavea
"But what if those buried, fetid stories are the ones that have bubbled to the surface? What if they're right there, balanced on the edge of our teeth, ready to trip into the world without even our permission?"

And what if you have practically no idea what the bloody Hell you're actually reading, curled up in your sofa, and yet you cannot help being hypnotized chapter after chapter? Because this is what happened with "The Grip Of It". This book does grip you and leave you wondering and when you
Johann (jobis89)
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
“We can lose ourselves behind a trapdoor, whether in our mind or in the house.”

A couple, Julie and James, move into a new home as a means of getting away from James’ gambling problems. Pretty quickly, the couple are tormented by strange occurrences - stains appear on the walls, bruises form on Julie’s body and they keep finding hidden spaces within the walls of their home. Together they try to investigate what is happening as more and more strain is placed on their relationship.

If I had to use
Chelsea Humphrey
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are thinking about picking up this book, please do yourself the favor of listening to the audio version! The narrators are beyond excellent, and I feel they played a huge part in the success I felt while reading this story.

Readers looking for violent, graphic, and disturbing horror won't be the right target audience for this book, but THE GRIP OF IT will be a huge hit to those looking for a dark and chilling form of literary horror and slow building suspense. What really put this in 4
Carol (Bookaria)
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, fiction
This book is so spooky!

Perfect pick for these days. Julie and James are married and looking to start fresh in a new home. In the past they've had some marital woes because of James' gambling problems.

They find what seems like the perfect house close to the ocean and cannot believe their luck when their offer goes through very quickly. Once they start settling in strange things start to happen, they also start getting lost in the hidden rooms within the house.

The novel is narrated from the
I loved the premise of this book and borrowed the audio from library because it sounded so good. The Grip of it delivered!

This audio follows Julie and James as they buy a new home to begin their fresh start. Almost immediately, creepy things begin to occur. Their new neighbor only adds to the uncomfortable atmosphere, not to mention the stories of the townspeople. When mysterious bruises begin to appear on Julie's body, they both have to admit there is some kind of problem, but how are they
Edward Lorn
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As an atheist and a horror fan, I find myself liking haunted house and ghost stories that do not really on a God Solution. Like religion, most haunted house stories stem from madness, a willingness to believe in the unbelievable simply because you don't have another explanation, or completely ignore facts that do not fit your beliefs. For all of these reasons do I love this book. The characters disbelieve up to the very end. They constantly question because what they are faced with simply cannot ...more
Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
You and I both know that the house is haunted
And you and I both know that the ghost is me
You used to catch me in your bed-sheets just a-rattling your chains
Well back then baby, it didn’t seem so strange."--Shaky Graves/Dearly Departed

I don't typically do song lyrics with my book reviews (seen that, over it *wink*) but this was just so damn appropriate that I had to.
So here we have a very moody, atmospheric setting for our story: A Haunted House.
And we have a typical, slightly dysfunctional
Ashley Daviau
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was really unsure what to expect when I started this and I honestly think that's the best way to go in to reading this book. It allowed me to be drawn into the story in a way that made me feel like I was PART of the story.

It takes a lot for me to be creeped out enough to want to sleep with the lights on. This book had me not just contemplating sleeping with the lights on but also just foregoing sleep altogether. It raised the hairs on the back of my neck in the most delightful way and I
mark monday

A person who puts a large amount of effort into achieving a certain image, or counter-image, to the point where it is obviously contrived. Rather than achieving an image through genuine personality, the try-hard consciously attempts to fit a certain style through deliberate imitation, forced style, or scripted behavior. That is to say, he/she is trying hard to create an image.

"A person"... or in this case, a book.
Apr 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
Effective horror is incredibly difficult to write. How do you sustain the suspense, let the terror build? Jac Jemc can't seem to with The Grip of It. This is a classic haunted house story, with some decent ideas -- (view spoiler) -- but I feel like the author runs out of steam a third of the way in. Some explanations or narrative excuses -- why would you stay in a house that is so obviously destroying your psyche?! -- arrive at least 50 pages too late, while ...more
Anthony Vacca
Nov 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
Oof. The Grip of It is a literary horror novel that slights the "horror" with its aim toward "literary." The novel is told in short bursts of "he said, she said" that do little to differentiate between one another stylistically to the point that the reader must continually check to see if the current narrator is the husband or the wife that is speaking in the ever-monotone present tense. The Grip of It wants to be a serious work that presents bits of philosophical poetry as human insight into ...more
Janelle | She Reads with Cats
It took me one day to read THE GRIP OF IT by Jac Jemc. The chapters alternate between the point of views of husband and wife, James and Julie, as they describe their experience moving into a new house, in a new town. There are some trust issues between the couple because of James’ gambling problem which adds to the paranoia in this story. I was captivated throughout the book up until the ending. I am not a huge fan of neatly wrapped endings - I prefer books that make you think. And although this ...more
✨The Reading
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
I don't think so...
A curious little haunted house story about a husband and wife that move into a new house and strange things begin to happen.
If this book was a horror film it would be one of those new, contemporary horror films that has absolutely no musical composition to it whatsoever. Just the dry straight facts. Let me tell you why...
This book is written in a first-person style jumping back and forth between the husband and wife's POV and is also written in present tense. You can imagine
5/5 stars!!

Just a quick FYI before we get started... I started Jac Jemc's The Grip of It yesterday morning before work, continued reading it on my lunch break, on my commute home on the subway, before getting ready to meet up with friends for a pre-Halloween night out, left my friends early so I could come home and read this, and then stayed up until 2:30 am to finish this. If that doesn't mean that this book deserves 5 stars, then I don't know what else to tell you, but I digress. Let's get
Crime by the Book
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read my full review here:

I couldn't put this read down! It's a smart and surreal literary horror novel that incorporates themes readers might expect to find in a domestic thriller. This won't be the right choice if you're looking for bloody/gory horror, but it'll perfectly suit literary fiction readers looking for something chilling.
Bri | bribooks
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I have read two great haunted house novels this year. The Grip of It is one of them. (Without consulting my reviews, can anyone tell me what the other is? If you get it right, there isn’t a prize . . . except my undying love and admiration.) A dazzling, poetic, and challenging work, this is a literary masterpiece that deserves to sit on the shelves with the classics.

James and Julian have stumbled across a large, beautiful house for an excellent price — and they take it. The house gives them the
Matthew Cox
Oct 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: horror
Let me just say up front that a lot of people on goodreads seem to have enjoyed this book...I'm just not one of them. I found this book to be an absolute chore, and I regret that I took the time to finish it. So with that out of the way, lets dive into a bit more detail.

'The Grip of It' is as horror story that follows two malfunctioning robots, called Julie and James, who move to a house in a small town to escape James's gambling problems. So the main characters aren't actually robots; they
Thomas Strömquist
Quite a unique reading experience and it is very impressive to write such an unnerving book about a staple such as a haunted house. This is, of course, rather to do with the prose rather than the story (which is good too!). The shifting narrative (between the couple that are the protagonists of the story) works beautifully and the first half of the book took my breath away and filled me with a dread and a need to learn more. Towards the end, I did feel a little exhausted and started just wishing ...more
Dec 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Goes through the haunted house conventions rather fast (finding a lone grave after purchasing a silly-cheap abode, hearing children in the forest, seriously second guessing your spouse, actual physical bruises...). Which was a definite plus. It's been awhile since a good ghost haunted house story emerged somewhere, in some medium... & it shall still be a while I suppose. I wish it had been better...
Casey Frank
May 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
While the writing was interesting and I was intrigued by the cause of the horrifying incidents around the house, I was disappointed with the last quarter of the book. While there were a handful of answers dropped amongst the convoluted narrative it was left too open ended for me to be happy with the overall story.
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are children in the trees. Whispering. Watching. Waiting.

Shadows. Drawings. Sounds.

The sound shapes itself, rough and wet before me. I smell the breath, sour and ripe at once.

I really dug this one. I liked how the chapters alternated between James and Julie. Their voices got confused in my head and it took a paragraph or two to figure it out who was “speaking”. It should have thrown me off and been a hot mess. It wasn’t. As a matter of fact, the alternating perspective and growing
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
THE GRIP OF IT, is the first novel I have read by author Jac Jemc. I honestly went into this book without any idea of what to expect. This turned out to be a great thing, as this book was nothing that I would have anticipated!

We start with a couple, Julie and James, that are purchasing their first home, hoping to get a fresh start on their lives after a series of "gambling incidents" that James was involved in. They find a large, strangely affordable home in a small town--this was perhaps the
Bark the Overwrought Keyboard Warrior
See this review and so much other good horror stuff at Ladies of Horror Fiction.

3 1/2 Stars

I’m not going to sugar coat things. This book was work and it was not a quick read. Not by a long shot. The chapters were super short so you would think the pages would fly, right? No. They absolutely do not fly. The writing style was literary, I knew that going in, and the language was lovely and often gutting in its honesty but what I didn’t anticipate were the alternating POV’s of the married couple who
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
4 stars--I really liked it.

Gonna be vague to avoid spoilers. This is a haunted house story, but an unusual one--there are no ghosts (or are there?), and it's possible that nothing supernatural was happening at all. It reminded me of a cross between House of Leaves (but much more narrow in scope) and Annihilation (but not quite so jumbled). I like both of those books, and I liked this one as well.

Except I found it sad. But maybe all the best ghost stories are.

I listened on audio, and both readers
Nancy Oakes
I don't keep ARCs so I'll be giving it away to anyone in the US who wants it.

The official blurb for this book calls it "a literary horror novel about a young couple haunted by their newly purchased home," which is definitely the case, but it is not at all your standard haunted house fare, and that's something everyone contemplating reading this novel should know right up front. Trust me on this one. In fact, I have to give the author major ingenuity points here -- not so much for the haunted
Aug 12, 2017 rated it liked it

"We can lose ourselves behind a trap door, whether in our mind or in the house."

Part haunted house, part psychological thriller, all three star.

Couple with issues buys underpriced house in the suburbs. Creepy things happen. They blame each other, they blame themselves, they get sick. The neighbor has a tragic past. There were solid ingredients but they just didn't come together - no cake.

This book was included in the August 2017 Infested/Infected Nocturnal Readers Box. My first
Stephanie (That's What She Read)
House of Leaves meets Fates and Furies.

A couple buys a seemingly underpriced house as an attempt to deal with their issues with a "fresh start." The house, with its secret passages, inexplicable growing mold, and mystery drawings on the walls, threatens to push a wedge further between them.

I liked the chapters switchings back and forth between the husband and the wife. The writing was very literary, but not necessarily "scary." A quick and enjoyable read.
Samantha Colwell
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
(Review from

Meet James and Julie. They live in the city, work semi-professional jobs, and are married for a blip before James’ gambling addiction drains him of his savings and leaves Julie feeling frustrated and alone. James and Julie decide that moving out of the city will solve their trust issues; James will be out of the path of impulsive temptations, while Julie will feel more in control of their surroundings and their future.

They settle into a two-story house which
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