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by Sonja Condit 
Published December 31st 2013 by William Morrow & Co.  

Starter House, by Sonja Condit. Paperback, 400 pages Published December 31st 2013 by William Morrow & Company
Intelligently written throughout, Sonja Condit's Starter House is everything a psychological thriller should be; both tense and suspenseful while maintaining a natural believability that sucks you in despite yourself; makes you believe all is safe and well, while somewhere, deep in the dark recesses of your mind, your prefrontal cortex is frantically trying to puzzle through and dissect the horror that you know is lurking behind a corner. Starter House's storyline somehow manages to be forthright while at the same time, its edges blur into something shifty and unconscionable; duplicitous. An urban legend that knows you by name.

At times I found this title terrifying to the point that I had to consciously relax my body and unfurl my tightly clenched fists. Her characters, from the protagonist, to antagonist and everyone in between each showed unique tenderness and depth of character with a complexity that evolved as the story progressed; they were strangely captivating and singularly deceptive in their seeming straightforwardness. 

Full of subtleties that twist the plot, events maintain a level of truthfulness that is disarming, making it easy to doubt the existence of the monsters that most certainly are hiding under the bed, until, too late, you realize they've swallowed you whole.

A lovely story; a touching, terrifying read.

Official Book Description:

Her dream home is about to become a house of nightmares...

From the moment Lacey glimpses the dusty-rose colonial cottage with its angled dormer windows and quaint wooden shutters, she knows she's found her dream house. Walking through its cozy rooms, the expectant mother can see her future children sitting on the round bottom step of the house's beautifully carved staircase, and she imagines them playing beneath the giant maple tree in the warm South Carolina sun. It doesn't matter to Lacey and her husband, Eric, that people had died there years before.

But soon their warm and welcoming house turns cold. There is something malevolent within the walls—a disturbing presence that only Lacey can sense. And there is Drew, a demanding and jealous little boy who mysteriously appears when Lacey is alone. Protective of this enigmatic child who reminds her of the troubled students she used to teach, Lacey bakes cookies and plays games to amuse him. Yet, as she quickly discovers, Drew is unpredictable—and dangerous.

Fearing for her baby's safety, Lacey sets out to uncover the truth about Drew and her dream house—a search for answers that takes her into the past, into the lives of a long-dead family whose tragic secrets could destroy her. To save her loved ones, Lacey must find a way to lay a terrifying evil to rest...before she, Eric, and their child become its next victims.

Author Bio: Sonja Condit received her MFA from Converse College, where she studied with Robert Olmstead, Leslie Pietrzyk, R. T. Smith, and Marlin Barton. Her short fiction has appeared in Shenandoah magazine, among other publications. She plays principal bassoon in the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra and the Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium. She teaches at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities.

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