The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons


The House Next Door, Anne Rivers Siddons, 1978

My favorite quote: “[The house] commanded you, somehow, yet soothed you. It grew out of the earth like an elemental spirit that had lain, locked and yearning for the light, through endless depths of time, waiting to be released…The creek enfolded its mass and seemed to nourish its roots. It looked – inevitable.”

Notable characters: Colquitt and Walter Kennedy, the unsuspecting couple; the house next door, their worst nightmare; Kim Dougherty, the architect; Pie and Buddy Harralson, the new homeowners

Most memorable scene: Finding the remains of wild animals and household pets around the construction site

Greatest strengths: Well-developed (though not particularly likable) characters, first-rate pacing, excellent plot twists

Standout achievements: This book puts a unique spin on the haunted house genre. Instead of having a sordid history, the home in The House Next Door is modern, newly-built — a ‘tainted creation’ so to speak, rather than a product of tragedy.

Fun Facts: In his book, Danse Macabre, Stephen King called The House Next Door one of the best genre novels of the 20th century

What it taught me about writing: This is one of a handful of novels that taught me that slow-growing, creeping horror is ultimately more powerful than the in-your-face, ax-wielding, bloody-murder stuff that is most often associated with the genre.

How it inspired my own work: This book has come up in many brainstorming sessions between Tamara Thorne and I as we’re plotting the many creepy houses that appear in the Thorne & Cross novels. The House Next Door is, to us, one of the definitive haunted house novels that all writers of the genre should familiarize themselves with

Other media: 2006 made-for-TV movie of the same name, starring Mark Paul Gosselaar and Lara Flynn Boyle

My rating: 4.5 of 5

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: http://alistaircross.com ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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