Within These Walls
By Ania Ahlborn
Publisher: Gallery Books
From indie horror author and bestselling sensation Ania Ahlborn, this brand-new supernatural thriller questions: how far would you go for success, and what would you be capable of if the promise of forever was real?
With his marriage on the rocks and his life in shambles, washed up crime writer Lucas Graham is desperate for a comeback. So when he’s promised exclusive access to notorious cult leader and death row inmate Jeffrey Halcomb, the opportunity is too good to pass up. Lucas leaves New York for the scene of the crime—a split-level farmhouse on the gray-sanded beach of Washington State—a house whose foundation is steeped in the blood of Halcomb’s diviners; runaways who, thirty years prior, were drawn to his message of family, unity, and unconditional love. Lucas wants to tell the real story of Halcomb’s faithful departed, but when Halcomb goes back on his promise of granting Lucas exclusive information on the case, he’s left to put the story together on his own. Except he is not alone. For Jeffrey Halcomb promised his devout eternal life…and within these walls, they’re far from dead.
I stumbled across Ania Ahlborn’s Seed a few years ago on my Kindle and decided I had to check things out. I may have been a tad biased after I discovered she was residing here in Portland at the time. But the biased curiosity won, as it was love at first read. Within These Walls seemed like a perfect “spooky” read for October, as I was determined to squeeze at least one in. It did not disappoint, as my need for a nice scare was satisfied.
What I was expecting was an entertaining story about a haunted house. What I received, was a story that dug deep into my thoughts, keeping me up a bit longer each night. I found myself unable to sleep for 2 reasons.
- Within These Walls is good. Real good!
- Ahlborn has the fantastic talent allowing her to creat tales that scare you on a psychological level. This book was no exception and definitely qualifies as grade A October reading material.
A good horror/paranormal title must be hard to put down and while remaining terrifying, and I just hit the lottery!
I have seen several mixed reviews on this one, and of course what works for some will undoubtedly fall short for others. You simply cannot please everyone. But for myself, Within These Walls had all of the right ingredients and worked oh so very well.
Lucas was very viable as a character. We have been introduced to a guy completely down on his luck, scraping the bottom and desperate to find a way. His family struggles and less than perfect decision making abilities definitely humanize him, making it easy to sympathize for him.While I was not crazy about him, I do not believe this is the sort of character that you are meant to “fall in love” with. You just have to be able to understand him on a certain level, and that is easy to do.
The main star of the show here (at least for me) is Halcomb and the house. What is happening within the walls of the farmhouse in Washington tell Halcomb’s story. The real story. And it is the sort of tale that can end up burrowing way down within your mind. It takes up residence and resides for the remainder of the book.
Taking elements of paranormal and mixing them with a terrifying idea of a devotion gone wrong naturally promotes fear. This is a healthy, heaping, terrifying dose of reality mixed with the unknown. Cults exist. History has shown us countless times exactly what can happen when a group of followers place their faith in the hands of one particular figure or belief that has a sinister or misguided purpose. Mentions of Manson, Heaven’s Gate and Waco still linger with an uneasy presence years later. The death and havoc left in their wake is not to be forgotten any time soon. Serve that up with a side of paranormal and a bad thing gets worse, but in a wonderful way. It creates top of the line, creepy reading material that is ideal for anyone seeking a good spook. Add an author who does their homework, which is very evident in this book, and it only gets better. Within These Walls is not only frightening, but believable to an extent that only manages to up the fear factor.
“Stories about murder and darkness had a definite pull; they were alluring in how forbidden they were.”
― Ania Ahlborn,
With fluid and energetic writing that seems to breathe life into each page, this is how haunted houses should feel. This is how horror novels should read. Like a bad accident that you shouldn’t look at but yet cannot turn away from, this book scared me while pulling me in further with each chapter. I was easily reminded of why the author’s name crosses my lips whenever horror is mentioned.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
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