Pros: Interesting premise
Cons: Things that just don’t add up
Rating: 2 out of 5
Victor Dark’s Uninvited Guests Trilogy is a semi-maybe-paranormal thriller that jumps off from the idea that the phenomenon of having someone unknown living in your house, between the walls and/or in the attic, isn’t nearly as rare as one would think. And then it tackles what on earth all those people are up to. Alan is a home inspector living with his wife, Ava. The revelation of what was happening in their home broke their marriage apart, but Alan gets a book deal out of his new obsession.
This is billed as a trilogy, but that’s because it basically strings three short-story-length pieces together. Even as a whole this doesn’t take long to read.
Once Alan blows the lid off of this conspiracy, it’s forced to go public as a religion. It offers homes and food to those who join. Since the cult wishes to break people’s minds, bodies, and spirits, the homeless or down-on-their-luck recruits make a fine choice of victim. Clever. I never did figure out how living in the walls of other people’s homes made sense as part of this. How did we get from “there’s a guy living in our walls” to “massive powerful cult”?
Alan has a hallucinatory experience, which involved trite turns such as a wave of blood from the elevators.
I might classify this book as “Lovecraftian Extra-Lite”. They’re clearly going for that vibe: “[T]his home is built with impossible geometry”. But it never achieves the horror of a Lovecraft story.
SPOILER WARNING: I’m going to talk about a few events closer to the end of the book. Skip to the next paragraph to avoid these. I couldn’t buy that the bad guys completely and utterly broke Alan’s mind by drugging him into killing a mole in their organization. He isn’t exactly fragile, and that breaking seems to have made him a high-level bad guy. That’s risky at best and comes out of nowhere. Alan is renamed as “Spiritus”, whose job it is to break others’ spirits. Alan is still aware of what’s going on, trapped inside Spiritus, but then later he seems unaware of quite a bit that happened; it’s a contradiction. More to the point, why is Alan so important that the cult would scrap the whole huge operation and start over again if he doesn’t come through? END SPOILERS
I never got hooked, and that didn’t get better as the novel continued. Things don’t seem to have been thought through well.