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House of Blood

(House of Blood #1)

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  619 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Later, the ones left alive would agree they never should have turned off that dark stretch of Tennessee interstate. They were tired and tense, two guys and three girls arguing over a vacation gone bad. But things were about to get worse for the five young friends. Much, much worse. In fact, most of them would never see the highway again. — The woods were dark and forbiddin ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 369 pages
Published December 7th 2004 by Leisure Books (Dorchester Publishing Co.) (first published 2004)
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3.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  619 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
House of Blood is the debut novel of Brian Smith, but from the rich writing and the intriguing plot, you can't tell it's a first. The beginning got me hooked, the middle kept me there, and the ending was strong.


Smith uses a simple, straightforward manner to inject his poison in the reader’s bloodstream. His prose is pronounced, clear, and focused.

The pace starts off swift and strong, stays in the air the whole way through, keeps lifting higher and higher, never putting its feet down on the
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it
It started off pretty solid, an interesting and different kind of horror story. But by the last third of the book it just went off in really bizarre directions that didn't feel like they fit what the earlier parts of the story promised.
Doug Haskill
Nov 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
I don't arrive at hyperbolic conclusions very often. I am not prone to labels like "best" or "worst", so don't take this review lightly.

I finished this book about a month ago and have been examining my feelings about it since. After all that thought, after all that consideration I feel confident in saying this is the worst book I have ever read, and I have read a ton of D&D novels.

Everything about it is just terrible.

The quality of the writing is uniformly bad but it occasionally dips into
Aug 10, 2011 rated it did not like it
House of Blood taught me a valuable lesson. I did not seize the opportunity to buy the book when it was at B&N. Shortly after that it went out of print and the only way to buy it was online. I had read Bryan Smith's Freakshow and loved it- one of my top five favorite books. I was very excited to read something else by this author. Some years later I purchased the book online for less than a dollar. The lesson I learned was not to ever pass up an interesting book, and since have started stock ...more
Nov 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was Smith's first horror novel...or at least his first published by Leisure and it struck me how much better it was than his subsequent books, like Freakshow, Depraved & Deathbringer. It was better in every way, more imaginative, better written, with actual character development and not just a mindless gore fest, although there is sex and horror plenty in the book. Overall, I was very impressed. I hope his writing returns to that level. Not that I didn't find his other books entertainin ...more
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
House of Blood was my first Bryan Smith novel and boy was I pleasantly surprised. I was hesitant at first thinking of Brian Keene's Urban Gothic, but it wasnt even close. There was an intricate plot, well thought out characters, sex, and plenty of disturbing images. Very entertaining and a page turner that never let up. I cant wait to read more of his work!
Oct 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Right off the bat Mr. Smith gets a gold star for having an intriguing, genuine synopsis. Now surely you think I’ve lost my mind, hear me out. How many times have you read a back cover summary, bought the book and realize you’ve been tricked? Or found that while there is truth in it, that particular bit of action doesn’t happen until almost the end of the book? (I’m looking at you Mr. Clegg.) In his debut novel, Smith promises unimaginable brutality, bile-inducing fear, and unfathomable despair; ...more
May 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, thriller
I found it kind of weird and a bit confusing. The Master is just basically a sadist mortal being (of another species?) with a loooong life span. He has created a kingdom in backwoods Tennessee where every one of his "subjects" are the poor unfortunate souls who wonder lost into his domain. They in turn are either also sadists or the poor victims of said sadists. The whole story evolves around torture, pain, and sex.

On a funny note, Dare I say... Elvis?!
Leila Hulsey
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
I had really high hopes for this book, but I was not loving it. Sometimes I need to read a book again to see or feel something I'm missing, so I may do that. Yet as it stands, I cannot say I loved this novel.
Feb 26, 2015 added it
Shelves: hated-it, horror
No star rating. Doesn't deserve stars.

I've not read any of Bryan Smith's other books. I probably never will. Unless he got better, LOTS better, after writing this one, I can safely say he has no business trying to be a writer.

Let's see; his prose is childish. His dialogue is cliched beyond anything outside a Z-grade horror flick. His characters are completely shallow. His plot...I'm not sure there even is a plot.

I picked this up years ago when I was looking for a good scary read by someone I'd n
John Bruni
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a fun book in the tradition of Richard Laymon and Edward Lee. When you first start reading it, you will think it's going in one direction. But by the time you're done, you'll be surprised by the events of this story. You won't see the Below coming. There's some great gore in here, but more importantly, there are some fascinating characters, at least in the way they play off of each other. All of the main characters have something about them that makes them unlikeable, except for Alicia, ...more
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
I've got quite the stack of books by authors I've never read. While my go to favorites are Stephen King and Robert McCammon, it's exciting to try out new blood (no pun intended) such as this guy...Bryan Smith. One thing I'm learning being on this site is that no two people are going to have the same exact taste in books. Every single book on Goodreads has negative and positive reviews. We're all different and we all experience something different when we pick up and read a book. My House of Bloo ...more
Chad Brown
Nov 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
I saw this book in a Dollar General store (along with the sequel Queen of Blood) and decided to buy it figuring it was worth spending $1 on. After reading it, I felt robbed. This was one of those books where I kept forcing myself to read in the hopes it would get better. The characters were one-dimensional and lacking, leaving me unable to care whether or not they lived or died. The storyline had promise for being an interesting and enjoyable read, but two things made the story reminiscent of a ...more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Yikes. Smith is typically a 4 or 5-star writer for me. I find his writing to be tight, concise, and brutally unrelenting. Gutter-noir in the spirit of a latter-day Jim Thompson.

But this, his debut novel, is a whole different ballgame. Tiresome, incongruous, bloated, and throwing out similes like George Brett hitting home runs. Seriously...there is one in almost every paragraph.

Unlikable characters doing inscrutable things for obscure reasons. So many different, contrasting horror tropes that y
Dec 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
House Of Blood

This novel is a strange and wild ride. If your not a fan of "Dominance and Submission", or you simply don't care for gratuitous sex in your book, then avoid this novel by all means.

Bryan Smiths first offering is not high literature by any means, but then again I don't feel books of this nature need to do any more than entertain and Bryan Smith manages to do just that. I know some will complain that the character weren't fleshed out, but most of the characters we meet in this novel
Apr 03, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I was really suprised by this book and the direction it took... yes there's blood, sex and guts - it is a horror novel and its not like the title did not give away this fact. (Oh, its too gory for my tastes - what were you expecting???)

Well all I can say is that I enjoyed this book so much that I ordered the limited & expensive hardback edition.

I also promptly brought all of Bryan's paperbacks.

If you are looking for a gripping read with interesting twists you should enjoy this one... if you
Sep 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Bryan 's first novel, brutal enough to satisfy, kept the action going with the character arcs and visceral grue from beginning until the thrilling denouement. My only criticism: a large number of errors that shouldn't have stilted a published book.
Todd Charlton
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bryan Smith's debut novel House of Blood, has young college students run out of gas and walk to a creepy old house. The door is answered by a creepy old woman and they enter a creepy old place.
It is said to be the entrance to Hell. We've seen Eddie, run through the narrow tunnels from horrible monsters, checking doors along the way, like a roll playing game. He climbs innumerable steps and still doesn't reach the surface.
Instead of Hell, the people under the house in vast chambers and cities eve
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it
This is the closet I think I have ever come to a grind house / sexploitation horror story, in book format.

The characters are unrealistic the world and the story are total drivel - pretty much nothing makes much sense.

There are some bits of gore and violence but mostly it is kept under the table - nothing to give you nightmares.
There is some naughty bits in the book but again it is all quite tame - this is the sort of book that would (and does) use the phrase "cotton panties" more than once.

But a
May 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
I don't usually write reviews but this would have to be the worst book I have ever read in my life. I will have great pleasure in burning this book now so no one else feels the need to endure the rubbish I just read!
Sep 05, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
The curse of the first novel - lots of kinks that need working out in this story with a great concept but messy execution and nonsensical dialogue. I've thoroughly enjoyed all the other books of Smith's that I've read, so he has clearly improved massively from here.
Brian Mcclain
Jan 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Good start, get's a little weird, ends relatively satisfyingly.
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Good horror sadly is hard to find. This one was ok, had good bones and fine for a fast read but could heck should have been better.
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great book. Horror is best when served dead...or dying.
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
I feel like I should start off first by addressing the sex in this book, since a lot of reviewers have been quite blunt, if not misleading, about it. Yes, there are a few scenes regarding sex or masturbation. Are they extremely long and drawn out enabling accurate comparisons to erotica? Noooo. They were about on par with what you'd expect to see in a novel of this type, and typically didn't last very long. Nothing that genre fans are not accustomed to.

Now that that's out of the way: the book it
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle-books, horror
When I first read the synopsis for this book, the story sounded very promising. It started off decent enough, but quickly became extremely boring. I truly think the author could have cut out a hundred pages or more from this book, and it would have been much better. I kept picking up this book, reading a chapter, then sighing and putting it back down. I was really hoping it would get better. Finally, after months of this, I realized I was three quarters of the way through the book, so I thought ...more
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I ploughed through this book! I absolutely could NOT seem to put it down. It moves at a fast pace, and the shock value and gore factor is ON POINT! The characters are very well-developed and the "scenery" is described in such vivid detail, that you can almost feel the searing heat and smell the sulfurous stench of "Below". I am SO glad that I had the sequel to immediately start on, because I could not wait to see what came next. I literally put down House of Blood and snatched up Queen of Blood ...more
Jan 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Bryan Smith's debut novel suffers a bit from 'First Novel-itus'. He tried to jam WAY too much into a little book and he hadn't quite found his voice yet. That said, it is very enjoyable, wild, bizarre little read that you'll race through if you like horror of the schlocky variety. There is just literally too much going on to make any of it that scary. Fun, it definitely is, and you have to admire the audacity of Smith's imagination. His balls to the walls approach to horror definitely became mor ...more
May 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, horror, psychos, 2011
House of Blood is a gripping horror thriller that is impossible to put down. Based on the opening set-up of the novel, I expected a Texas Chainsaw Massacre throwback, but it turned out to be so much more. A group of college friends take a detour and end up lost and very low on gas. When they arrive at an old country home, they expect to find a phone and some help but instead find a house of unimaginable horrors. Otherworldly psychos, sexually twisted freaks, and an underground world of insane ph ...more
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paced reading hor...: house of blood spoilers to 100% 41 21 Jan 21, 2013 08:02AM  

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Bryan Smith is the author of more than thirty horror and crime novels and novellas, including 68 Kill, the cult classic Depraved and its sequels, The Killing Kind, Slowly We Rot, The Freakshow, and many more. Bestselling horror author Brian Keene has called Slowly We Rot, "The best zombie novel I've ever read." 68 Kill was adapted into a motion

Other books in the series

House of Blood (2 books)
  • Queen of Blood (House of Blood, #2)
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