Vintage. Sept. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9780593467022. pap. $17. HORROR
DEBUT When Abby Lamb’s toxic mother-in-law dies by suicide, as the woman has said she would do for decades, Abby is a bit hard-pressed to hide her gleeful relief from Ralph, her grief-stricken husband. But the late Laura Lamb isn’t really gone. Whether Laura’s presence in their house is real or merely a manifestation of Ralph’s guilty co-dependence and Abby’s accumulated resentment, the couple’s new lives are haunted by Laura’s still-caustic presence. The further Ralph descends into depression, the more frantic and frenzied are Abby’s attempts to break him out of his despair. Abby decides that if she can’t rescue her husband through goodness, there are plenty of darker and more gruesome ways of getting her point across. Told in Abby’s snarky, sarcastic, and increasingly unstable voice, this tale of psychological horror goes to places that invoke many trigger warnings, even as readers will cackle along with Abby’s wry observations.
VERDICT This debut adult novel from YA author Hogarth (The Boy Meets Girl Massacre) is recommended for horror readers who like to see all of everyone’s issues eviscerated on the table and who won’t mind never again being able to eat chicken à la king after the novel’s disturbing take on it.
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