I have a problem with books like Conjure House – which is a pity, because it means I’m blind to some of its outstanding merits. I have a problem with Family In Danger narratives in horror. Or with Childhood Friends Reunited stories. I have a problem with books that take the Yorkshire landscape as a setting without fully evoking its bleak Wuthering Heights magnificence. I have a problem with Chapters That End With Single Standalone Significant Sentences.
That said, there is a lot to like here, as well as to be very scared of. Gary Fry seems to be working very much in the British tradition of Ramsey Campbell, which is a very good place to be. Campbell has described him as “a master of philosophical horror,” and the ideas and intellectual gifts are on full view here. He has a fertile, ingenious, and pretty disturbing imagination. The central villain Peter Suman, for instance, is an original in his motives, aims and (nasty) means. The God’s Eye View (no spoilers here) that much of the story revolves around is a trope worthy of Adam Nevill. And the thumbless figures haunting the environs of Deepvale are hideous in themselves and also convincingly, and creepily, explained. There are just enough Cthulhu Mythos allusions in the story to pull in the Lovecraftians and situate it in that tradition, without overwhelming it with hackneyed Yog-Sothothery.
All in all, then, an interesting and entertaining read that has a very original creative vision behind it. I’ll be interested to see what more Gary Fry comes up with once he has pulled together plot and prose to match his dark inventiveness. He hasn’t been writing long and could have a lot more in him.
[easyazon-link asin=”B00DPYZYXG” locale=”us”]Conjure House[/easyazon-link] on Amazon