Matt Query & Harrison Query
Harry and Sasha move into their dream house in Teton Valley having bought it sight unseen. The couple could not be happier until their neighbors bring warnings of a malevolent spirit that lives in the valley, one which, with every season, will haunt them in fresh, evermore diabolical ways.
Based on the Reddit sensation, a horror thriller of a young couple who buys the perfect, secluded house—only to discover the terror within.
It’s the house of their dreams. Former Marine Harry and his wife Sasha have packed up their life, their golden retriever Dash, and fled the corporate rat race behind to live off the land in rural Idaho. Their breathtaking new home sits on top of more than forty acres of meadow and aspen trees in the Teton Valley. Even if their friends and family think it’s a strange choice for an up-and-coming pair of urban professionals, Harry and Sasha couldn’t be happier about the future they’re building, all by their lonesome.
That is, until their nearest neighbors, Dan and Lucy Steiner, come bearing more than housewarming gifts. Dan and Lucy warn Harry and Sash a of a malevolent spirit that lives in the valley, one which, with every season, will haunt them in fresh, evermore diabolical ways. At first, it seems like an old wives tale. But when spring arrives, so does the first evil manifestation, challenging everything Harry and Sasha thought they knew about the world.
As each season passes, the spirit grows stronger, the land more sinister, and each encounter more dangerous. Will Harry and Sasha learn the true meaning of a forever home before it’s too late? Haunting and bone-chilling, Old Country is a spellbinding debut in the horror genre.
Old Country is a debut horror novel written by two brothers and conceived on the r/NoSleep subreddit. The story is told through a couple’s two points of view – Sasha and Harry – as they move to a ranch in Idaho after buying it sight unseen and encounter the unique difficulties of living in the Teton Valley – namely an ancient spirit.
I found the plot of Old Country unique and intriguing. I found the horror elements actually unnerving, which is unusual for me in the best way. The storyline was easy to follow, albeit a bit uneven. The writing and story improve after the first act.
While I enjoyed the plot overall, I found the novel to be slow in places. This was particularly true for a portion of Harry’s chapters. I could have done without rehashing Harry’s past and what made him the misogynistic ex-military guy with anger issues who refuses to listen to anyone and does whatever he wants regardless of consequences. In fact, I could have done without Harry period. He was an asshole to his own dog, who was basically the hero of this story. I would not want a Harry in my life, so I also prefer not to have one in my books. But that is a personal preference, and I do not think everyone will be as annoyed by Harry as I was.
A majority of books I read are written by women and occasionally I will read a book that screams to me that it was written by a man. Old Country was one of those books. It is hard to describe exactly, but the actions and musing of the characters really read as from a male perspective. There is also a big plot point that I will not state outright as not to ruin the story for anyone. But I think a woman in particularly would find the decision and consequences of that plot point much more weighty than the manner in which it was handled. It kind of blows my mind thinking back on the unrealistic c’est la vie attitude taken towards it and screams a position only a man would be entitled to take in that situation.
For a debut novel, I think the character development was solid. I found that the female characters were less developed and served as more supporting characters to the men. I do wish that a couple of the characters had more page-time. If all the characters had been as well-developed as Harry, I think this book would have been elevated.
In the end, I thought Old Country was an enjoyable debut novel, especially for spooky season. The horror elements really delivered and helped pull the book along through some unnecessary details and scenes. If you can look past the unlikeable characters or some of the more problematic aspects, I think you will find this to be a decent horror story.
July 26, 2022
Note: I received a galley of this book from the publisher, Grand Central Publishing. Regardless, I always provide a fair and honest review.