“The Grip of it”; An Intro Level Horror Read

Jackson Nielsen

My recent and unrelenting obsession with horror novels has led me down deep and dark rabbit holes of terror filled novels that leave the reader chilled to the bone. This week, my addiction led me to Jac Jemc’s The Grip of It. Opening with two main characters, Julie and James, the book’s perspective changes chapter by chapter, switching between both James and Julie’s perspective throughout. This husband and wife couple have recently made the move to a suspiciously cheap house in order to escape the city where James’ gambling addiction has become rampant. The house, although cheap, does not come without its fair share of oddities. Most notable are the strange, hidden compartments and rooms that are spread throughout and the overly nosey neighbor who watches the house from his window.

This book is quite short, coming in at 228 pages, and is a quick read, one I did in less than a day. With that said, the drama begins to unfold right away, with strange noises being heard by both James and Julie. Personally, I like longer books where the plot and characters have more of a chance of being established but sometimes, a shorter book, like The Grip of It, is a breath of fresh air. I had never heard of this book before I chose it off the shelf so I entered the story completely blind, hoping only to be left scared or disturbed. I wouldn’t say I was either of those but there was a particular physiological effect throughout the story that made me feel like I was slowly losing my mind along with the characters. As the plot unfolds, more and more instances of strange and unnatural occurrences begin to happen in their house without explanation. Being short on funds as James and Julie are, they are stuck in their house of horrors, being forced to deal with or ignore what is happening around them.As the book goes on, Julie and James drift apart due to what is happening in the house. With each chapter bringing a switch in perspectives, the reader gets a look into the minds of each character as they slowly slip into insanity.

It gave me a similar feeling as when I read Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. But I wouldn’t say it is of the same caliber as King’s work. Unsettling nonetheless, I can’t bring myself to say this is a book for extreme horror fans. Perhaps more of an entry level thriller novel. With the length of the book being as it is, I would recommend this to readers who are just getting into the genre and need a short and quick introduction book to get themselves acquainted with being scared from words on a page.