Review: How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix

cover of How to Sell a Haunted HouseHow to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix 
Berkley (January 2023) 
432 pages; $19.60 paperback; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Haley Newlin

Grady Hendrix’s new release, How To Sell A Haunted House, looms over the haunted house trope with puppets, gore, and restless spirits, but the family lies and sheer shock of how it unfolds will make readers eat this story up right down to the bone.

Every house is haunted. The walls of our childhood home shape who we are, every room dusted with memories. The good and the bad energy leaves traces. And energy cannot be created or destroyed.

When Louise learns her parents have died, she cringes at the thought of going home. She doesn’t want to see her deadbeat brother who resents her success, or deal with her parents’ cluttered house with her father’s endless stacks of academic papers and her mother’s lifelong collection of puppets and dolls. But she needs to sell the place to get home to her daughter.

How To Sell A Haunted House kicks off with gripping dread that only worsens as Mark and Louise prepare the house for a realtor’s walk-through. The back-and-forth explosions between Louise and Mark are not only hilarious — I can picture Mr. Hendrix with a sly grin — but serve as an expertly-placed foundation for what’s to come.

Louise gets to work. The first thing to go was their mother’s puppets. One after the other, their wide eyes and contorted mouths full of silent screams lowered in trash bags. From here, Hendrix cues constant noises in the attic, Mark and Louise doppelganger dolls with a few tricks of their own, resurrected taxidermy, and puppets with extreme attachment issues. And that energy, surging with decades of lies and loss, must be redirected.

Reminiscent of Chucky and Annabelle, How to Sell a Haunted House is a strobing, freaky, anxiety-inducing read with all the heart and masterful freight of vintage Stephen King.

This one screams Classic. Classic. Classic. 

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