The Yellow House on Maloney Grove by M. Bryce Ternet

The Yellow House on Maloney Grove by M. Bryce Ternet
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary, Horror
Length: Short Story (98 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Everyone in town seems to know something Libby and Ethan don’t, but it isn’t them they’re talking about.

After moving from Southern California to a unique, beautiful, and bizarre enclave of Western Washington, recently married Libby and Ethan try settling into a new life in a seemingly ideal home. The couple confronts the difficulties of relocation and the challenges of a young marriage, while strange occurrences in the house gradually become too pronounced to ignore. As their relationship experiences increasing strain, Libby and Ethan begin questioning the influence of the house and discover its shocking past. Shunned by the community as outsiders and finally admitting a supernatural presence in their house, Libby and Ethan must decide what is most important to them.

Every house talks to itself at night. Pipes rattle, duct work expands and contracts with changing temperatures, shutters flap in the wind and sometimes inanimate objects soar across the room.

At least that’s what is happening in Libby and Ethan’s new place.

Moving halfway across the country to start a new job is simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting. Ethan and Libby are eager to make new friends with the locals but for some reason none of their neighbors seem interested in getting to know them. I winced in sympathy as Ethan attempts to find a friendly soul to sell him a cord of firewood or give him the inside scoop on the best place in town for a hot cup of coffee as Libby adjusted to her boss and coworkers.

Weird things begin to occur almost as soon as this couple moves into their new rental but Ethan and Libby have an excuse for every one of them. I still wonder why two computer-savvy, intelligent adults wouldn’t have investigated the clues sooner either through a simple Internet search or by visiting the archives at the local library. In their shoes this would have been my first reaction to certain inexplainable events and their passive reactions to the presence in their home and all of the contradictions they encounter distracted me from what was an otherwise good story.

In the beginning I wished the plot would speed up a little bit as the hints about what was actually happening were punctuated by what I considered to be a few too many subplots. It was rewarding to piece everything together, though, once I realized this book was meant to be a slow, subtle burn. The last few sentences were particularly chilling and begged for a sequel. While I don’t know if the author has any plans to do so I hope to hear from Libby and Ethan again soon!

The Yellow House on Maloney Grove has all the elements of old-fashioned horror. I read it over an exceptionally dreary weekend and jumped out of my skin once or twice when wooden fixtures groaned unexpectantly as they contracted and expanded. Rainy days are perfect for a book like this…if you lock the door first.

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