Haunt Sweet Home

Tor.com. Sept. 2024. 176p. ISBN 9781250330260. $20.99. FANTASY
Mara’s life hasn’t been going anywhere, and seeing her family during the holidays doesn’t help, just before she goes back to college for the third time. Then her cousin Jeremy invites her to be a production assistant on his home-makeover/ghost-hunting reality TV show, but it turns out to not be quite what she expects. Her job is planting fog machines in orchards and creating scares to spook the show’s homeowners. Then odd things begin to happen on set, and a new coworker, Jo, begins to insinuate herself into Mara’s work and life enough for her to wonder if Jo is better than Mara—or just a better Mara. The novel’s plot is supported by short vignettes of what happens on screen in the show, and the reality-TV machinations are a good foil for the underlying action between Mara and Jo.
VERDICT Pinsker’s (Lost Places) evocative prose turns an amusing reality-show backdrop into a haunting story of hiding from (and discovering) oneself.
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