The Haunted by Michaelbrent Collings is the creepiest book I’ve read in years. The writing is excellent and this short novel (273 pages, $4.99 eBook, $9.99 paperback) builds, and builds to a truly terrifying climax that takes up the last 170 pages. Pregnant Sarah and her husband, Cap move in to a remote old house surrounded by a sinister forest, and the haunting begins. Little things go on at first and the quiet opening made me wonder if this was going to be like the other haunted house books that I’ve read in the past. It definitely was not, as the ghosts in this novel don’t just make noises in the night, and hide in basements. They come after the main characters with knives that cut flesh. They are in your face and terrifying.
Cap and poor Sarah worry for their immortal souls and their unborn baby as a whole pack of murderous ghosts start a prolonged attack that takes up more than half the book. These are the most vicious ghosts I’ve ever read about, and Collings is a great writer who knows how to evoke a mood and pull you into the tight prose, that drips blood and terror.
If you’ve read a lot of haunted house books, this one may not seem to be much different at first, aside from the fantastic writing, but there is a twist at the end that most readers will not see coming—I admit that I didn’t—though I had suspicions whispering in the back of my mind. The ending really left me shivering and I love how well the twist was set up all through the book.
As a writer and editor myself, I really loved how Collings crafted his scenes, as the prose really punched me in the face, and made me cringe.
If you’re looking for a good scare and want a great read, The Haunted is an excellent book for you. I finally understand why Michaelbrent Collings has such a great reputation for being a really good writer, and he’s earned a lifelong fan. I will for sure be reading his other novels.
View the Haunted on Amazon.com
Author of the Iron Dragon series
Editor of the Crimson Pact anthology series