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 Harlowe and her friends agree to investigate the mystery behind the manor, they do so on the assumption that they’ll be going down in history as the ones who determined who built Spindrift House—and why. The house has secrets. They have the skills. They have a plan. They have everything they need to solve the mystery.
Everything they need except for time. Because Spindrift House keeps its secrets for a reason, and it has no intention of letting them go.
Nature abhors a straight line.
Here’s where the story bends.
- Title: In the Shadow of Spindrift House
- Author: Mira Grant
- Cover Artist: Julie Dillon
- Publisher: Subterranean Press
- ISBN: 1596069228
- Publication Date: June 30, 2019
I’d like to thank Subterranean Press for providing a copy via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration.
In the Shadow of Spindrift House is a Lovecraftian mash-up of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! and The Haunting of Hill House, though it is far more serious and contemplative than its Scooby-esque origins might lead you to believe. It deals with adult greed and deceit, with sly winks to the classic cartoon, but this book is far more concerned with questions of fate, family, and time. Its chilly heart beats with the seduction of the sea, the pull of infinity, and the allure of abandoning yourself to nature and destiny and the cosmos.
The story follows the Answer Squad, a group of four plucky teen sleuths who aren’t plucky teens anymore. Harlowe, whose parents died mysteriously when she was a child, finds one last case for the Squad to solve together: Spindrift House, a seaside mansion with disputed ownership that seems to kill anyone who tries to go inside. If the four friends can survive the spookhouse long enough to find the original deed proving the house’s true legal owners, they’ll go out on a win and earn $3.5 million in the process. It’s a compelling premise, and Mira Grant’s narrative goes places I didn’t expect, hinting at intriguing questions and backstories without ever explaining too much or losing momentum.
This is my first Mira Grant book (and my first book by Seanan McGuire, the author behind the Mira Grant pseudonym). I had no expectations other than a good story, but I was not prepared for how her prose would affect me: I wanted to wrap the words around myself like a blanket or roll around in them like satin sheets. Her style shifts depending on the narrator, but there remains a breathtaking tone throughout that places you under its spell just as surely as the “haunted” Spindrift House enchants its victims.
In the Shadow of Spindrift House is a fascinating blend of horror influences that neither shocks nor terrifies; rather, its fear rolls in subtly like fog. It makes you empathize with and perhaps even envy the monsters; after all, there is peace and a sense of belonging in the act of letting go.
The waves beckon to us all.
I give this book 4.5 out of 5 coffins.