I have to say right off the bat - I like scary movies (not gory) and scary books. So the premise of Condit's novel immediately appealed to me.....
A young couple expecting their first child are house hunting. After 108 viewings, Lacey knows the house on Forrester Lane is the one. The realtor's comments to a neighbour are a bit odd, but the price is right and their offer is accepted. But right from the beginning, there is an annoying young boy who seems to be hanging around their property.....but it's only Lacey that can seem him....and talk to him....and she quickly begins to sense that something is not quite right with their dream home....
Oh, dark, snowy night, pot of tea, and a solitary reading lamp set the tone for enjoying this modern day twist of a ghost tale.
Condit is not subtle about her haunting. It starts from the first few pages and builds momentum as the story quickly progresses. I found Starter House hard to put down - I really wanted to know what the final pages would reveal.
Condit's characters are a bit cliched - the husband Eric was somewhat predictable as the voice of reason and the disbeliever. But there has to be a non-believer in every ghost tale. I quite enjoyed Lacey's Mom - new age proponent Ella Dane. Her faith in her own beliefs was consistent and convincing. Supporting characters such as Eric's boss and secretary were predictable. I'm torn on Lacey - I thought her views as a teacher were spot on. Suspended disbelief is necessary to go along with her acceptance of the boy Drew and what he can do. But, of course we must - it's a ghost story! So without overthinking it too much, I just kept turning pages. Glimpses of the past provide clues to the secrets of the house on Forrester Lane - and the final reveal.
Starter House was a good debut and a fine way to start off my 2014 reading list. If you have an older house, Starter House will make you wonder about the history of your house. (Mine is 135 years old and I've had great fun researching who has lived in it and their stories.) Read an excerpt of Starter House.
"Sonja Condit received her MFA from Converse College, where she studied with Robert Olmstead, Leslie Pietrzyk, R.T. Smith, and Marlin Barton. Her short fiction has appeared in Shenandoah magazine, among other publications. Sheplays principal bassoon in the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra and the Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium. She teaches at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities."
See what others on the TLC book tour thought. Full schedule can be found here.