=========MAJOR SPOILER BELOW. DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO READ THE BOOK!!!===
Okay, I’ve read books written solo by both Dekker and and Peretti, and enjoyed them. Both men are two of my favorite Christian fiction novelists. However, House was a different than the books that both Dekker and Peretti wrote solo.
Stephanie and Jack are a married couple who are going to a marriage counseling session at Jack’s suggestion. Stephanie does not want to go, but she does agree to go to pacify Jack. Stephanie is a country singer and she tries to hide the pain from their failed marriage by singing songs and doing ‘concerts’ at clubs. Jack is a writer and he desperately wants to save his marriage to Stephanie.
En route to their session, they get lost and are stopped by a cop, Officer Lawdale. He is intimidating, but tries to get them back on their way. While they continue, their tires are slashed on purpose by some weird contraption in the road. They go to the only building around, an abandoned inn. Since they are so far away, their cell phone service does not work.
When they arrive at the inn, there are no innkeepers present, initially. They only find Randy, a boisterous business man who thinks he’s a know-it-all, and his companion, Leslie, a psychologist. Randy always tries to act like he’s brave, although he’s really quivering with fear. Leslie always tries to analyze people and their predicaments due to her psychotic background. Both Randy and Leslie have suffered the same accident as Jack and Stephanie: the tires of their car were slashed.
Soon, they are joined by Betty, Stewart, and Pete, the family of ‘innkeepers’ who later are revealed as demons. As the book moves forward, it becomes apparant that the house is possessed by demons and the leader, the one who initiates the ‘game’ where he will let them out of the house if they give him one dead body, is Barsiduous White, who wears a tin mask and locks the house against their escape. As they ‘play’ this ‘game’ it becomes apparant that Betty, Stewart, and Pete are working with White in this ‘game’.
Around the middle of the book Stephanie, Randy, Leslie, and Jack go through several cliffhangers to try and escape the house. As they find themselves in the basement, the house shifts several times, and when they think they’re escaping, they end up in the same place where they’d started minutes ago. The time shifts also, making minutes seem like hours.
The game is supposed to end at dawn and as they go through rooms with trick mirrors and flooded pipes, they find another victim locked in the basement, Susan. Susan is a young innocent girl who claims she knows the way out of the house. However, at first, all fail to listen to this girl and it becomes apparant at the end that she’s an angel who’s come to show them the power of God is greater than the power of the demons who have them trapped in the house.
Only Stephanie and Jack end up accepting the truth at the end, so they are able to escape this weird house due to their newfound acceptance of Jesus Christ. Randy ends up killing Leslie, buying into White’s ‘rule’ that one dead body will guarantee an exit from the demented house.
During the course of the story, the demons play mind games with the players. When the players are alone, in locked rooms, their minds are tricked into remembering hurtful episodes from their past, things they need to let go of in order to accept God’s grace.
There are several things that the demons do during the course of the story to keep the reader hooked. Barsiduous White comes around the corner, sporting his tin mask and perhaps carrying a gun. Sometimes, the four players are tricked when they see four exact ‘twins’ of themselves, and the four originals wonder which are real and which are fake.
A room floods, and Randy tries to kill Stewart by trapping him in a pipe, trying to drown him. Leslie is trapped in a room with Pete, who wants her as his ‘wife’. He bounds her, and throws darts at her until she verbally admits to being ‘guilty.’ Pete also traps Stephanie later on, wanting her for his ‘wife.’
Stephanie feels abandoned when Jack leaves her in a closet as he goes to try and rescue Leslie. Jack is forced through an open door with a huge forceful current, and the door shuts behind him and he can’t get out. Throughout the story, doors open and close of their own accord. The house moans and groans throughout the story also. There are also trick mirrors in some of the rooms, where you see everything reflected in the mirror, except yourself.
And the list goes on and on.
I didn’t enjoy this book at all. I doubt I’ll read another Dekker-Peretti collaboration. I just wanted the book to end.