Book Review: The House the Devil Built by Benjamin Hively

⭐⭐⭐💫3.5 out of 5 stars

Prologues: some like them, some despise them. As for me, I’m in the “pro-“logue camp, provided they’re well executed. As in this instance!

In The House The Devil Built we’re treated to a gem of a prologue. Set in the 1960’s this particular prologue gives a hint as to the tone of the rest of the story. Something demonic lurks in the shadows of the Boudreaux Plantation, and has attached itself to a member of the Boudreaux family with deadly consequences. Fast forward fifty years, to the young couple who have just purchased and moved into the stately Louisiana home, and as a reader you just know they’re in for trouble. I commend the author for the menacingly slow build of tensions. Odd things start happening the moment the couple moves in (and they’re not all of the supernatural variety), but at first they’re almost benign, able to be brushed off as accidents, over-active imaginations, or the actions of pranksters. 

Now, confession time: this was my first foray into a story featuring a same sex couple. Reading the book’s blurb “Ashton & Dillon” were a generic couple’s name. It wasn’t until the start of chapter two that I came to the realization Ashton & Dillon were both men. “Okay,” I thought, “let’s see where this goes.” The characters’ sexuality was a major point of tension for many characters in the story, but as a reader Ashton & Dillon felt like a genuine couple struggling with the difficulties stemming from addiction and the loss of trust that follows such destructive behavior. Their gender didn’t matter. 

Following Ashton’s discharge from a rehab center, Dillon takes it upon himself to relocate his husband away from the temptations of the Big Easy, so he purchases the Boudreaux Plantation in the small town of Acadian Springs. Ashton is in a fragile state, a prime target for a demon seeking an outlet, right? Maybe, maybe not. 

The arrival of a homosexual couple in the close-knit, Bible Belt town stirs up all kinds of turmoil. The town pastor, previously a devout and caring man, undergoes a drastic, hate-fueled transformation. The town sheriff, a happily married father of two, finds himself indulging in fantasies which leave him wracked with guilt and questioning his future. Family dynamics, religious bigotry, fidelity…. There are some deep themes in this story. Who is truly possessed? What is the nature of true evil?

Sounds like a rockin’ story right? So why only a 3.5 rating? In a nutshell: editing. If the author were to take a few more passes through this book fixing grammatical errors and other typos, this would easily be a 4-4.5 star read for me. I encourage you to give this book a go. The story is well worth it and the editing issues easily rectified. 

Want to visit The House The Devil Built? Kindle Unlimited subscribers can stay for free, so book your visit HERE. See you on the other side!

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