If you’re looking for a haunted house novel that strays from tropes and formula, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking for a unique style, settle on in, author Garrett Cook’s A God of Hungry Walls will see your quest for distinctive writing and raise you twenty!
But – If you’re looking for a quaint tale of chilling yet delightful specters, go away. These walls don’t want you and you will not want to read about what goes on inside of them. If you are easily offended; if graphic depictions of sexual acts disturb you, if you find vulgar language upsetting, then run like hell. Likewise, if you are unable to digest descriptive accounts of torture, stay away – stay far away. Do not enter the confines where there is a God of Hungry Walls. You will not like this god.
The story is told in the first person – the almighty capital “I”! Who is behind this “I”? Well let me say that the narrative is from the viewpoint of whatever it is that does the haunting. Perhaps it’s the house itself. Its power is great; it exceeds the limited scope of your average ghost or demon. It is the master of all that goes on within its walls. Often It refers to its occupants as ‘toys from the toy box’.
Four college-age students share the house – two young men and two young women. It manipulates them, locks them together in sexual intimacy; often times perverted with a touch of sadism. Okay, there’s more than a touch, more like a hard slap! Then, we see that the house is messing around with other occupants; such as a serial killer doctor and a tortured girl who lived in a cage like a dog. Where do these occupants suddenly come from? They were there since the day they died within the walls of the house (long before the college kids acquired the place). They belong to the house and It can toss them into being whenever it wants.
Admittedly, I didn’t always know where the story was going. At certain parts I was left thinking “what is the author getting at there?” But maybe I wasn’t meant to understand it all. After all, I am following the lead of a mad, mad force. The “mad” have no rhyme or reason. They are insatiable, always “hungry”, hence “The God of Hungry Walls.
A lot of the book is subject to interpretation. Certain names/concepts come up, such as “Closetsong.” What is that? In the end, I think I figured it out. But maybe my understanding will be different than yours, or the authors, or even The God of Hungry Walls.
For those that can pass the tests that I have outlined in the first two paragraphs of this review, I recommend giving this book a read. It certainly won’t be boring, that’s for sure.