Review copy provided courtesy of the author.
A young family that frequently moves around for work discovers they aren't the only residents of their latest home.
I've said it before, but I'll say it again--I will always be completely down for a haunted house story, and what haunted house story doesn't benefit from a dysfunctional family moving in? The family dynamic here was a real highlight for me, unique, specific, and very real. We often see a nice suburban family fallen on hard times moving into the spooky house because it's their only option, but here it's a working class family that moves frequently for the father's sales job. Making it so it's something out of the characters hands, yet the norm for them lent it something special. It might seem like a small thing, but it really stood out and had me fully invested in the family.
The mythology of a haunted house is one of the most important factors, and I really liked the mythology for this one. It doesn't try to reinvent the wheel, but it doesn't have to--especially with the final act going bonkers. On that note...the climax felt really out of left field for me, BUT I was read this while in a slump, and I have a feeling I had to have missed some important clues. Despite that, I actually love the whole idea and found it unique,interesting, and even rather profound...I'm just not quite sure how it actually fit together, so I will definitely be rereading this when my brain is more cooperative.
Overall, I wish The Gray Man was longer, to examine the family dynamics more in depth, and explore the haunting's mythology a bit more, but I don't consider these negatives at all. The worst thing a book can do is make me want to give up, so when a book just makes me want more that's a pretty great thing. Between this and his story in Kids of the Black Hole, I think it's safe to say that I'm a big fan of the worlds Murr is creating, and I need him to put out a chunky, full length novel--and the sooner the better!
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