T. Kingfisher (Nettle & Bone; The Hollow Places; The Twisted Ones) brings her trademark brand of humor and suspense to A House with Good Bones, an intimate, skin-crawling horror story about the ties that bind--sometimes too tightly. Archeoentomologist Sam Montgomery finds herself out of a job when her latest dig turns up Native American remains, and she moves in temporarily with her mother in her North Carolina childhood home. The house is haunted with memories of Gran Mae, the abusive, controlling grandmother who used to frighten Sam with stories of "underground children." Her fantasies of quality time evaporate into concern when she sees that her mom has reset the house to look exactly as it did when Gran Mae was alive. She worries her mother is belatedly grieving Gran Mae, but other strange phenomena occur: ladybugs swarm indoors, a jar of teeth turns up under the rose garden and vultures watch the house. "As omens go," Sam observes, "it doesn't get much more obvious than that." Sam digs into their family history and learns that exorcizing a ghostly granny isn't the worst of their problems.
Kingfisher understands that the scariest horror stories have their roots firmly planted in the traumas of real life and, here, mines family dysfunction. Sam often fails to grasp the danger of her situation because she's accustomed to thinking of Gran Mae as the ultimate monster, but Kingfisher demonstrates that abusers aren't created in vacuums. Quirky side characters, Sam's drily humorous narration and a ghoulish, gruesome climax should entertain horror and fantasy fans. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads