When Charlotte was a child, she witnessed a tragedy. Twenty five years later, she’s returned to her family home, and the house is happy to welcome her back.
Charlotte, her husband, Elijah, and their young daughter, Helena, move into the very house where Charlotte witnessed the death of her mother years before.
They are a family in crisis. Both Charlotte and Elijah bear the wounds of their difficult childhoods, and as a collective they are mourning a recent loss. Divided and hurting, neither parent notices until it is too late that Helena has been befriended by a potentially dangerous entity; one that could permanently destroy the family.
The fact that this novel reads more as a psychological thriller than a straight out horror in no ways stops it from being a chilling read. The house plays out as a character in this story, and it’s grooming of young Helena, largely ignored by her suffering parents, is hard to read about because of how realistic its methods are at corrupting a vulnerable innocent.
Charlotte and Elijah are realistic, compelling characters. They are flawed individuals, attracted to each other because of how they both suffered growing up, now their brokenness is what drives them apart. It is easy to empathize and care for these characters, easier still to see how their insecurities and misunderstandings are making them act at cross purposes to each other. Sometimes I wanted to shake them and tell them to listen to each other and their daughter, and I commend Holton for the skill with which he builds such three dimensional beings.
These Walls Don’t Talk, They Scream is a complex book; a disturbing look at a family falling apart, at the dangerous folk who can take advantage of the lost and vulnerable in such a situation, and the sacrifices that must be made to keep a family together. I loved the deft hand the author used to paint the shades of trauma and mental illness, and how they change you.
I award this book…
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