“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ” John 1:5 ESV
I read this book in one day. I was leaving Mexico at four in the afternoon. I started the book in the morning. I read it by the poolside, then on the bus to the airport, then in the airport and I finished it on the plane. House is co-authored by master story-tellers Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker.
The book follows the horror story of half a dozen people trying to survive the murderous intentions of Barsidious White and the bizarre house in which they are trapped. The entire book takes place in mere hours, as the people inside are only given until dawn to follow the rules White has given them. There are three rules:
- God came to my house and I killed him
- I will kill anyone who comes to my house as I killed God
- Give me one dead body and I might let rule two slide. You have until dawn.
Let the game begin.
The portrayal of Jack and Stephanie’s tumultuous relationship is very real and convincing. After the death of their daughter they are seeking counseling but nonetheless are on the verge of divorce. They both blame the other person for their daughter’s death and they have come to hate the other person for their faults while ignoring their own. They meet Randy and Leslie who are also staying in a Victorian-era bed and breakfast that they found. Inside is a family of bizarre misfits who tend to be violent. Soon it becomes apparent that White, the family and even the house are all trying to kill them. They have until dawn to kill one of their group if they are all going to survive.
Dekker and Peretti have mad suspense-writing skills. I could not put the book down. As I read it, I could not help but think this book should be a movie. It moves at the pace of a horror flick and the special effects of a film would be awesome. I found out recently that it was made into a movie two years after the book was published. I need to see that movie. In any case House triumphs as a book. The book is incredibly complex and with the plot moving at a break-neck speed. Couple that with my ravenous appetite for literature and in the end I missed some of the details. There is a labyrinth of rooms beneath the house and it is impossible to keep them all straight. There are also seven characters to try to follow which also makes it hard to keep events and places organized in your brain.
But in the end the book is a masterpiece, illustrating powerfully the depravity of man’s soul and the one thing we must do to triumph over ourselves. The darkness of sin is not a foreign enemy. It lives within us. We must conquer ourselves because we are our greatest enemy. Thank you Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti for showing that so poignantly to me.