House of Dead Trees

House of Dead Trees - Rod Redux I read this book with my Shelfari horror group.

First off-what I liked. the premise of this book was excellent. A house built on land previously inhabited by certain tribes that used a form of burial called sky burial. Basically, this means they hung their corpses in trees.

This story worked in a back and forth format, from a time long ago to the present time. A team of "Ghost Hunters" arrive at an old uninhabited home that has a reputation of being haunted, to perform an investigation with the new owner. When the characters get their first glimpse of the home, the descriptions were very reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House". None of the angles of the house are perfect, all the doors are closed, etc. As a reader I have nothing but respect for Hill House. In my opinion it's the best "haunted house" book I've ever read. I enjoyed these references.

Now, for what I didn't like. There was a character that was abused as a child. There's a gay character too. I didn't mind the characters so much as I minded the sexual scenes, which seemed to me not to fit quite right. I saw no reason for including the child abuse portion, since it had no bearing on the story. I consider myself a seasoned horror reader and as such I have come to expect sex in my horror stories. But I do like the sex to have some kind of point to it. In this case, I didn't really see the point.

All and all I did enjoy the story. I thought the premise was excellent, but felt that the story just didn't live up to it. The character development was OK, but I thought it could have been a little better. I did enjoy the references to Hill and Hell House, but those references led me to believe that this story was akin to those, and it's not. It's not bad, but it's not them.

I will check out some other works by this author because I did like his style and I did like the premise of this book. It just failed to meet my expectations, which admittedly, were high.