Typically I’m not a horror genre reader (despite being a horror movie fanatic), but I know a good ghost story when I read one. After working with Mr. Johnson in publishing classes in 2018, I knew he had an eye for the macabre, in the best of ways.
Shy Grove: A Ghost Story has an insidious sort of scariness, that creeps up slow but doesn’t stop form the first page. There may be the cliched “troubled family uses haunted old house to try to rebuild their lives” trope on the surface, but there is something unique to the terror built in this novel. The tension builds continually from the beginning and I was even taken by surprise by some of the twists toward the end. It’s a nice take on the haunted house trope, with buried secrets and truly disturbing examples of how depraved a person can become while under the guise of the greater good.