I just finished a book I received from a fellow author, not for review but for pleasure. That’s what writers often do, they exchange books. I’ve known Tony Tremblay for a few years now. I first met him face-to-face at an anthology conference, aka ANTHOCON, in Portsmouth New Hampshire. Pretty much every author I know that writes in the horror field I met at that conference. Almost everybody ended up on my friend's list, but Tony Tremblay stuck out for a couple of reasons.
First off, and this is a no bullshit statement, he is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He loves where he lives, loves the people who surround him, including other writers, and he has an aura of positivity that is neither forced or fabricated. Tony Tremblay is the real deal. A proud resident of Goffstown, NH and a huge supporter of the horror community. But that’s not all. He’s passionate, talented and yet he remains humble. So, now I’ve buttered you up and you might think, “Look, he’s plugging a novel for his buddy. Isn’t that nice?” But here’s the thing that writers also do. They tend to go silent when the material doesn’t taste right. As to exchanging books, writers pass each other books, but many end up in a slush pile of To Be Read that is sometimes compromised when said writer goes whoring with a favorite bestselling author. There is also the time factor. I’m not a fast reader, never have been and even if I was my TBR pile is in the 100’s. And yes, writers I like to get bumped up the line. So, it didn’t take long before I wrapped my hands around a signed hardcover of THE MOORE HOUSE by TONY TREMBLAY. The look and feel of a professionally bound hardcover are a great introduction to any book. The cover is simple leather brown with even simpler artwork. An ancient cross. The feel adds to the invitation, the matte cover feeling like a thin skin of raw leather.
As I opened the book, I read Bracken McLeod’s introduction and upon finishing, I thought, “Now what the hell am I going to say to top that?”
With McLeod’s foreword in my rear-view mirror, I started reading…
The Moore House is thought to have a black soul, based on its history and reputation. It is the nucleus of evil acts. Suicide, disappearances, murders that include dismemberment, can all be connected to the Moore House. But no one gets convicted of these crimes. The murders that are discovered and investigated are predestined to become cold cases.
And then there is that other school of thought. Perhaps the house itself is the killer, inhabited by an evil, not of this world?
Catholic Priest, Father MacLeod leads a team of three excommunicated nuns, Nora, Agnes, and Celeste, to investigate the Moore House at the behest of a local businessman, Kevin Lewis. Lewis’ granddaughter has been missing for some time and he believes that the house has something to do with it. With connections in the Vatican, Lewis uses his influence to send MacLeod’s team to the Moore House to explore the possibility that the dwelling might be possessed.
That is what they do, with each woman possessing an ability to pinpoint the presence of paranormal or demonic activity, they sweep the property with zero results. Satisfied, Father MacLeod departs, while the three women stay on and are compelled to go into the house following a uniformed police officer who thinks he sees the missing Lewis child and requests their assistance.
What ensues is imprisonment and a web of trickery on the part of the houses demonic presence. The sins of the team itself are inventoried individually as the devil’s disciple casts its influence on the trapped women. Meanwhile, Father MacLeod returns to save the women and brings help, including the businessman, Lewis and a local pawnbroker who seems to know more than is letting on.
In the Moore House, Tremblay revives the demonic possession tale with purity and strength. A melding of Ghost Story meets The Exorcist is what is suggested. Having read both books I can understand the analogy. But this story reminds me of another of demonic possession book, John Farris’ SON OF THE ENDLESS NIGHT. Not so much because of a similar storyline, there isn’t, but the style of the writing feels the same. That’s a compliment. Tremblay remains true to the legend surrounding exorcism and has researched the subject matter for which he uses as his backdrop. His non-villain characters are flawed, forgivable, and even likable. His villains are to be despised and feared. And of course, there is the house itself. Impervious to arson, able to change and cloak its victims using its black soul while playing host to a top-tier demon.
I’m not going to tell you anything else about the plot, I’m not going to ruin it for you. I am going to tell you that I enjoyed this story a lot. Even though I stated only weeks ago that I was “so over” haunted houses. Tremblay gets a pass on that complaint because he tells a wicked story and his characters easily become your characters. I even felt a little twinge, because it reminded me somewhat of my debut novel, THE EQUINOX. Again, not because the stories are the same, but the writer of Moore House has the same feeling I was trying to portray in my first full-length novel. That is also a compliment.
This is Tony Tremblay’s debut novel with Twisted Publishing, an imprint of Haverhill House Publishing. He has also published a short story collection called SEEDS OF NIGHTMARES. This debut novel is worth checking out. If you’re a fan of John Farris or classic King, you won’t be disappointed. Also, there is a bonus at the end of this book. Tremblay leaves you with an introduction and a short tale, dessert after the main course. That is THE REVEREND’S WIFE.
It is available in hardcover, paperback and on kindle.
Get it on Amazon