Book Review: The Grip Of It by Jac Jemc

Book: The Grip Of It by Jac Jemc

Published August 2017 by FSG Originals|273 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: None

Genre: Adult Literary/Horror

A chilling literary horror novel about a young couple who purchase and live in a haunted house. Jac Jemc’s The Grip of Ittells the eerie story of a young couple haunted by their new home. 

Julie and James settle into a house in a small town outside the city where they met. The move—prompted by James’s penchant for gambling, his inability to keep his impulses in check—is quick and seamless; both Julie and James are happy to leave behind their usual haunts and start afresh. But this house, which sits between ocean and forest, has plans for the unsuspecting couple. As Julie and James try to settle into their home and their relationship, the house and its surrounding terrain become the locus of increasingly strange happenings. The architecture—claustrophobic, riddled with hidden rooms within rooms—becomes unrecognizable, decaying before their eyes. Stains are animated on the wall—contracting, expanding—and map themselves onto Julie’s body in the form of bruises; mold spores taint the water that James pours from the sink. Together the couple embark on a panicked search for the source of their mutual torment, a journey that mires them in the history of their peculiar neighbors and the mysterious residents who lived in the house before Julia and James.

Written in creepy, potent prose, The Grip of It is an enthralling, psychologically intense novel that deals in questions of home: how we make it and how it in turn makes us, mapping itself onto bodies and the relationships we cherish.

I did not like this book as much as I thought I would.  It had a lot of potential, and I like the idea of a couple moving into a house only to get caught up in what had happened in the house before they bought it, and the history of the neighborhood.

I was bored when reading it, and I didn’t feel any terror or claustrophobia.  I think that’s what the author was going for, but I didn’t particularly feel that while reading the book.  It wasn’t as creepy as I thought it would be, and I didn’t particularly care about what they were going through.

There were a couple of things that didn’t work for me: the chapter length and the POV.  So, both Julia and James narrate the book, but their voices sounded exactly the same, and it was hard to tell who was narrating.  It was hard to tell them apart, especially when each chapter maxed out at about 4 pages.  The chapters weren’t long enough to really get into each character’s head.

Not only that, but switching back and forth every 2-4 pages took me out of what was going on.  Not that the chapters had to be labeled with who was narrating that particular chapter, but it would have been helpful to know who was supposed to be narrating.  At least to have a reference point, since both voices sounded the same to me.

Obviously, this book wasn’t for me, and I don’t think I would have picked it up if it weren’t part of a subscription box I was getting.  I get why people might like.  I mean, who wouldn’t go for a haunted house story?  I just wish it were for me.

1 star.  I didn’t like this book, and it was hard to tell the two narrators apart.  Plus, it wasn’t as creepy or haunting or claustrophobic as I thought it would be.