The story begins in 1965 when Thomas wakes up in the middle of the night to hear a woman’s voice on the baby monitor. He is sure that it is Amy, a woman who has been tormenting him and his family. He goes to check it out, but there is no one in the children’s room when he gets there. Was it his imagination?
Fast forward 50 years to 2015 and we meet Guy and his mother, Heather. They are trying to clean out his mother’s attic when Guy comes across a deed to a property that she had inherited and forgotten about. Given that Guy has come into some tragic luck lately, he sees an opportunity to fix up the old house and sell it for enough money to buy a beach house for the two of them. Not too long ago, Guy accidentally backs over his fiancé, Savanah, who is pregnant with their child. They both survive but want nothing to do with him. Even the people in the town have shunned Guy and his mother. Making a profit on the sale of a large estate would help them start over again in a town far away.
When Guy first arrives at Rookward House, he sees the potential the property has to offer. Large lawn, remote location, woods, two-story house overgrown with vines. Guy finds that considering that the house has been vacant for fifty years, there is minimal damage and that it is worth spending time there to do basic repairs-remove the vines, replace broken windows and warped floor in one room, remove old carpeting, and get rid of the old, stained furniture. What is it stained with? Is that blood?
Initially, the scrapping and banging and creaking sounds in the house could be attributed to branches, old door hinges, and wind, but Guy begins to realize that there is something else in the house. One night, he wakes up to find two teenagers inside Rookward. Blake and Tiff tell him the horrific and terrifying story of the family that lived there in 1965. Thomas and his wife, Louise, lived there with their three young children. Thomas was a banker and a co-worker, Amy, develops a disturbing crush and fascination with Thomas. She stalks the family at their home, on their property, and eventually inside their house. One night, she murders the entire family, lives with the corpses for four days before she commits suicide as the police arrive. Is it possible that Thomas and his family still reside in the house? Is Amy still looking for Thomas? Could they be the source of the noise Guy hears at night? That’s all it is, right? It’s just noises; ghosts can’t hurt you, right?
This book is by far my favorite read this year so far. The Haunting of Rookward House is a distinctive and perfectly spooky story that will keep the reader at the edge of their seat the entire time. Just when you think it cannot get any more frightening, the author takes it up another level. The short chapters and fast-paced story will keep you reading well past bedtime, if you dare.
There are a few unanswered questions that I wish were answered in the book. How does Heather inherit the property? Was her father related to Thomas or Louise? There are references to Guy looking like Thomas, so I assume it is through Thomas’s side of the family and not Amy’s side. Also, what was the new information that Tiff was going to reveal to Guy when she returned to Rookward? The author leaves just enough mystery and unanswered questions at the end of the book that the reader will feel that it is a true story because you don’t always get all of the answers in real life. If you are looking for a scary read, then this is the book for you! I look forward to reading my next Darcy Coates story soon.