I’m not sure when it happened, but sometime around the end of September, with October looming in the distance and the smell of dead leaves making want to drink cider, I became a horror novel junkie. Actually, I was always a horror novel junkie, from my middle school days reading Dean Koontz and Stephen King (much to my teachers’ horror), up until now, when I devour books such as Stefan Kiesbye’s “Your House is on Fire, Your Children All Gone.”
I must admit, the first few pages of this book almost made me put it down. The writing felt a little shaky, and terrible horror is unbearable. But I changed my mind at the end of Chapter 1. This novel is not your typical slashing gashing zombie brain nomming fun time, but instead, a very stark, not quite fantastical, tale of children from a small village in Germany commiting unspeakable crimes upon each other, and the rest of the villagers. You might think you understand the nature of these crimes from the book’s cover: something like voodoo and gremlins and eating hearts, but that is not so. Although there are mentions of supernatural doings, there is never any concrete evidence that anything supernatural actually occured.
What really got me was the way in which the terrible deeds were described: without any flourishes or flowery language, and extremely underexaggerated. Suddenly, boom, a young boy smothers his litter sister to death, and it’s over and done with.
Basically, I suggest you pick up this book one quiet, chilly October night and read it in one go. You might not be scared like you were with Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft, but you WILL feel quite disturbed, and perhaps a little bit sick to your stomach.
Don’t you just love when books do that? I know I do.