“Beneath the Stairs”

The octagon house has a traumatic past and a very twisted future

“Beneath the Stairs” opens as children explore an old, vacant house; it is in very bad condition, in fact, it is hardly a house at all. Nevertheless, it is frightening just the same. Now the house is awake, and she will come back; they always came back. In the summer of 1998, right before they started high school, she and her three best friends, Monica, Lori, and Abby, went into an abandoned house.

Events unfold in Clare’s First-person account going back and forth in time. There are also alternating narratives from other points of view. Something terrible happened in that strange house shaped like an octagon. The old lady owner did not knock down the house after those murders. Why not? Just what happened?  The police said one thing, then the newspapers picked up the information, and even the lawyers believed it. It would have been easier, simpler, to just give in. The more puzzling problem is why would someone go back?

Little by little readers hear the story of that night. Details are disclosed, but the important things, the real answers, take time to materialize. The house and the events that happened there left a residue on all involved that is impossible to leave behind, and of course there is “the doll.” I received a review copy of” Beneath the Stairs” from Jennifer Fawcett, Atria Books, and Simon & Schuster. It is a compelling, twisted, and surprising story.