Book Review: The Spite House

THE SPITE HOUSE | Johnny Compton
02.07.2023 | Tor Nightfire
Rating: 4/5 stars


Eric Ross is on the run from a mysterious past with his two daughters in tow. Having left his wife, his house, his whole life behind in Maryland, he’s desperate for money. When he comes across the strange ad for the Masson House in Degener, Texas, Eric thinks they may have finally caught a lucky break. The Masson property, notorious for being one of the most haunted places in Texas, needs a caretaker of sorts. The owner is looking for proof of paranormal activity. All they need to do is stay in the house and keep a detailed record of everything that happens there. Provided the house’s horrors don’t drive them all mad, like the caretakers before them.

Have you ever heard of a spite house before? I had no idea it was a real term for a house built to get revenge. In this case the Masson House was built on a small ledge of land to get revenge for the owner’s family estate being sold without his approval. That’s just one of the small details that go into this intricate haunted house meets Southern Gothic tale.

The Spite House is told through alternating narratives from a wide cast of characters that range from Eric’s family, the home’s current owner, and individuals you’ll want to know from the past. I loved getting so many different perspectives, which I genuinely think brought this story to life. My favorites were those of Eric and his daughters where I was able to observe their close bond while also unpacking why they are on the run. The house itself gives off major Hill House/Hell House vibes and I loved the way it was able to have a direct influence on characters. This story is so rich in detail that at times I found myself a little lost and having to reread sections, but despite that I never stopped being invested.

Compton has a true gift with words and I look forward to reading whatever he comes up with next!

A huge thank you to Tor Nightfire for my gifted copy!

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