I love a good, old fashioned haunted house story. The thing with the haunted house is that they are familiar. That old house down the road, grandma’s house, or that creepy old place you look at before buying your safe cookie cutter place in the burbs. Those old places have nooks and crannies where things hide in the shadows; they have creaks and squeaks that no one can explain. These houses have roots growing into their cellars and a nonexistent child skipping from one room to another, or at least Catherine Cavendish’s does.
I truly enjoyed the way that Catherine Cavendish slowly built up the tension in The Devil’s Serenade, with small things that could be rationally explained at first. Stage two, okay, perhaps Maddie is just a wee bit crazy; that’s right, there’s no such thing as a haunted house (dripping with sarcasm). Then we reach stage three…that did not just happen! At this point, we fully realize that Hargest House is FUBAR; at this point, any rational person would just get the heck out of Dodge, but where would the fun be in that?
Madeleine Chambers was a great character. She had her own little idiosyncrasies that kept that bit of doubt going through the bulk of the story. Is this really happening? The protagonist was a perfect fit for the tale. The other characters in the cast worked well off of Maddie, and you’re just not sure who you can trust.
The Devil’s Serenade is a great, new haunted house tale that is packed with tension and has a few fantastic surprises along the way.