“Just Like Home” by Sarah Gailey: Creepy and Dark

“Come home.” Vera’s mother called and Vera obeyed. In spite of their long estrangement, in spite of the memories ― she’s come back to the home of a serial killer. Back to face the love she had for her father and the bodies he buried there, beneath the house he’d built for his family.

Coming home is hard enough for Vera, and to make things worse, she and her mother aren’t alone. A parasitic artist has moved into the guest house out back and is slowly stripping Vera’s childhood for spare parts. He insists that he isn’t the one leaving notes around the house in her father’s handwriting… but who else could it possibly be?

There are secrets yet undiscovered in the foundations of the notorious Crowder House. Vera must face them and find out for herself just how deep the rot goes.

Sarah Gailey’s writing is excellent in this creepy and dark tale of how layered our home and past lives can be. Part of the reason this works is the way Gailey peels off the layers of Vera’s past, giving you glimpses but never all of the story at once. As you slowly realize what is haunting her and her mother, you realize how strange and compelling this story is and also just how disturbing as Vera faces her secrets so too does the audience learn just how terribly deep the horror of this tale goes.

Without giving anything away, what I can tell is that part of what makes this story so compelling is how it shows how belonging to a place or with a person can warp your perceptions, change what you think is right and wrong. This novel explores what happens when you grow up in a dark environment and how much that informs your future if you let it. It also allows you to see the events of Vera’s life in a different perception than you would expect. The other reason this is so engaging is how much you find yourself bonding to this character even though it’s sometimes difficult to trust her perception of events.

Truly this kept me awake at night and brought shivers to my spine, especially at the ending. If you like rich, creepy and dark horror, this novel is for you. You will find home and belonging will never feel quite the same again. 

Rating: 5 out of 5  notes

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