Harold really likes a certain type of supernatural reality shows. Like most “reality” TV, these follow a reliable format. A young couple moves into a creepy old house. The wife begins to notice odd things and express concerns to her husband, who says she’s imagining things before heading off to work. Paranormal activity intensifies, with the kids speaking in tongues and the furniture flying around the house, and at the end of the episode, the husband admits that maybe something was going on after all.
The beginning of Anonymous was like a great Ghost Show episode. The young couple moves to a creepy old farmhouse, and the wife starts seeing creepy things. She also has her own demons; with a family history of schizophrenia, she’s unwilling to tell others about what she’s seen and experienced. Then, there’s a neighbor family down the road with more secrets the possibility that the ghost is a murderer. Or two murderers. Or our heroine is crazy. And different characters keep pointing out that since it’s so rural, there’s no police force to call. It wass a really intriguing opening for a scary novel.
This novel had a lot of variation in quality. There were definitely moments with a great tension, but a lot of the secondary characters seemed to walk in, narrate the next piece of plot exposition, and walk out. Some items seems so cliche that they felt like Macguffin placeholders for something more natural. (A tragically dying mom made custom matching amulets for siblings separated at birth… which appear at really, really convenient times.)
Other times, I found myself rereading scenes thinking I’d missed something, because the characters actions were so bizarre. (A married woman gets anonymous letters from someone who describes watching her in her house. She decides the best way to handle it is to go to the bar at the time her stalker suggests, but first she tells her notoriously rage-y husband that she’s heading out to see the guy who writes her dirty letters. I understand this course of action on exactly zero levels.)
Overall, I mostly felt like I was reading a rough draft of what could become a really good thriller. I think I’d like to read the finished version.
I received a copy of this novel to review. Opinions are, as always, my own.