In the Shadow of Spindrift House

200 pages

Published June 29, 2019 by Subterranean.

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4 stars (1 review)

Nature abhors a straight line. The natural world is a place of curves and softened edges, of gentle mists and welcoming spirals. Nature remembers deviation; nature does not forgive.

For Harlowe Upton-Jones, life has never been a straight line. Shipped off to live with her paternal grandparents after a mysterious cult killed her mother and father, she has grown up chasing the question behind the curve, becoming part of a tight-knit teen detective agency. But “teen” is a limited time offer, and when her friends start looking for adult professions, it’s up to Harlowe to find them one last case so that they can go out in a blaze of glory.

Welcome to Spindrift House.

The stories and legends surrounding the decrepit property are countless and contradictory, but one thing is clear: there are people willing to pay a great deal to determine the legal ownership of the house. When …

2 editions

Imagine the Scooby-Doo gang encountering a Lovecraftian horror in Hill House.

4 stars

They manage about as well as you might expect -- which is to say, not very well at all.

It's an interesting mashup of tropes. The teenage detectives are used to traveling around, busting "supernatural" frauds, though they have more serious issues. (The stoner who loves dogs also has severe anxiety, for instance, which is why he avoids people and self-medicates.) And they're just aging out of the demographic when one of them convinces the rest to take on one more case before the band breaks up.

Naturally it's a creepy old haunted house on a cliff above a small, dying coastal New England town that's slowly being eaten away by the sea. And the families disputing ownership of the house both have old claims, and they all seem just a bit off somehow...

You know from the start that they're not all coming back from that last case before …