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review 2018-03-20 01:08
Review: The Grip of It, by Jac Jemc
The Grip of It: A Novel - Jac Jemc

The Grip of It is an intensely unnerving book about everyday horrors made manifest in a haunted-house fever dream.


James and Julie are young urbanites who move to an old house in a small town, hoping the change of scenery will save their crumbling marriage. Away from the city, they believe, James will overcome his gambling addiction, Julie will move past her resentment of him, and they will restore the connection that brought them together in the first place. In the process, they plan to become the type of people they assume are happy: those who move at a slower pace, who get to know their neighbors, who patronize the local mom & pop establishments, who ensconce themselves in the charms of small-town life.


This endeavor neither begins nor ends well.




The book opens with a realtor showing off the property that will become James and Julie's new home, constantly drawing their attention to - and then dismissing - the strange buzzing noise that permeates the structure: "That's just the house settling." But the sound (moaning... like an incantation, some sort of ritual snarl) follows James and Julie everywhere they go, as does the strange grimy waterstain on the basement wall, the ominous drawings and unreadable superimposed script that appear throughout the house, and the myriad secret rooms and passages that keep revealing themselves - and then vanishing.


Even outside their (clearly haunted) house, none of James and Julie's plans seem willing to materialize. The local businesses refuse to serve them. The townspeople gossip about their home's tragic (but conflicting) history. The elderly next-door neighbor stares menacingly at them through the windows. Their jobs fall apart. Their friendships sour.


Various explanations for the couple's troubles are offered throughout the book, from sterile medical diagnoses to gaslighting abusers to festering restless spirits. None of these really fits the evidence, which remains elusive and contradictory and totally inexplicable.  And yet there was always this sense of familiarity as I was reading this book, this prickly feeling of impending doom that I have experienced when suppressing destabilizing truths that I was not yet ready to accept.




The novel’s title hints at how ominous it is - to be trapped in the thrall of this thing that you are not willing to name or describe. You resolve to ignore it, hoping that by sheer will you'll be able to continue your ordinary life, maintain a job, a relationship, friends, and hobbies. But it doggedly manifests itself - on your body, in your dreams, on the walls, in the neighbors' faces, in the droning, moaning sound at the limit of your hearing.


The opening paragraph describes this feeling perfectly:


Maybe we move in and we don't hear the intonation for a few days. Maybe we hear it as soon as we unlock the door. Maybe we drag our friends and family into the house and ask them to hear it and they look into the distance and listen as we try to describe it and fail. "You don't hear it? It's like a mouth harp. Deep twang. Like throat singing. Ancient. Glottal. Resonant. Husky and rasping, but underwater." Alone in the house, though, we become less aware of it, like a persistent, dull headache. Deaf to the sound, until the silence of ownership settles over us. Maybe we decide we will try to like the noise. Maybe we find comfort in it. Maybe an idea insists itself more easily than an action.


This, of course, will never work. Choosing to ignore or embrace the warning bells clanging in the back of your mind will not make them go away. Will not stabilize a situation you know is untenable. Will not conquer an unacceptable reality. Pretty soon, you’ll start spiraling out of control the way Julie and James do in this book.


It's not the house settling. I promise you, it's something worse.

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review 2018-02-15 01:12
The author paints a creepy landscape
The Grip of It: A Novel - Jac Jemc

   Jac Jemc knows how to paint a creepy landscape in her novel, The Grip of It.  Quick summary with no spoilers:  A couple working through issues buys a house that begins to affect them and their relationship. 


   Ms. Jamc uses first person narrative while switching between the husband and wife with each chapter.  First person narrative can be tricky to do well, but our author pulls it off expertly. The ambiance grows increasingly menacing, and the "grip" it has on the couple and their relationship is the truly disturbing. 


   Ms. Jamc is comfortable and deft in her craft and the story moves along flowingly.  I have given it four stars because wanted a little more clarity in the end, but I believe most readers who enjoy a tense, relationship-based drama and/or a story with paranormal overtones will find it quite satisfying.


   I'm looking forward to reading more of her works!

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review 2018-01-06 15:00
"Still" (Grip Volume 2) by Kennedy Ryan
Still (Grip) (Volume 2) - Kennedy Ryan Still (Grip) (Volume 2) - Kennedy Ryan

My 1st AWESOME read of 2018. I'm a happy girl.

This story was just too much for my heart. My soul. This was an exceptional piece of writing here.
What an incredibly, raw journey you get, with Grip & Bristol. I could not have foreseen a better closing to their story and journey. It broke my heart. Then made it soar. I cried happy and heartbreaking tears. I laughed until my stomach hurt. And I blushed like a hot sweaty tomato.

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. 

I HIGHLY recommend this read. This mini series of sorts... 

Please start this journey at the beginning with the Prequel, Flow, then Book 1, Grip., before diving in here with Still
You will not be sorry. 

You're welcome ;)


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review 2017-12-11 22:53
The Grip of It
The Grip of It: A Novel - Jac Jemc
This was a psychological horror novel that kept getting creepier the more that I read it. As the house became more active, it’s actions more intense, the couple has to find a way to handle its effects.
Wanting to get a fresh start, the couple looks for a house away from the city. Wandering inside a house that was built between a forest and an ocean, they notice a few strange abnormalities but the house was such a great deal, they hate to pass it up. The house is huge. It has the potential to last them a lifetime so, as the couple moves in they’re excited for their future.
It began before they bought the house but events surrounding the house begin to increase dramatically now that the couple has moved in. It began with noises, then later it progressed to strange shadows, rooms moving, and drawings appearing, just to name a few of these events. It wasn’t just the eeriness and the mysteriousness of these events occurring that I enjoyed but it was also the couple, the new homeowners that I savored. It was their reaction to what was happening, their relationships with each other and the people around them and their personalities that make this novel great. Alternately, we hear from each of them in this novel and the worlds they are witnessing and speak of cannot be imaginary because their stories are identical in a world where communication is lacking. Where once this couple conversed, this couple is now silent and words are implied or absent. With new employers, the couple has a few, new acquaintances to converse with but they’re fearful of what to say and how to explain what is happening in their lives. Everyone seems to know something about the house they have purchased but what is the truth? As James tries to find out the history of the house, Julie is ready to move and leave the house behind.
I really enjoyed this novel as I loved the odd, unexplained events surrounding the house and I thought the main characters were perfect for this novel. I liked how the house had a history, yet as we hear from other individuals, this history is extensive. Although the ending was not neatly packaged up, I liked it and thought it tied with how the novel flowed.


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review 2017-11-26 21:17
The Grip of It: A Novel - Jac Jemc

I have read two great haunted house novels this year. The Grip of It is one of them. (Without consulting my reviews, can anyone tell me what the other is? If you get it right, there isn’t a prize . . . except my undying love and admiration.) A dazzling, poetic, and challenging work, this is a literary masterpiece that deserves to sit on the shelves with the classics.


James and Julian have stumbled across a large, beautiful house for an excellent price — and they take it. The house gives them the change their marriage needs. But this house isn’t right. Impossible rooms and corners and corridors exist . . . and there are ghosts in the trees . . . and just who is that strange old neighbor who keeps staring out his windows at the couple?


Jac Jemc deals in dread. This is a novel of quiet, mounting terror — the scares don’t come from onscreen horror, but the anticipation of the horror. Jemc keeps her cards close to her chest and knows how to dole out just the right amount for maximum effect. And for me, as a reader, that works best. I don’t like to be shown. I don’t like for the author to hold my hand. I have a working and vivid imagination, and the scares it can conjure up are more effective than anything Jemc could have written. You see, this novel doesn’t give answers. If you like your haunted house novels to end with everything wrapped up nicely, you’d better move along. The Grip of It is a puzzle, and I suspect I will get even more out of it upon rereading.


A grim and despairing novels of haunts and a dissolving marriage, this thing pushed all my buttons. If you like to be teased and challenged by your scary fiction, give this a go. As for me, I will be checking out this author’s past novels as soon as possible.

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