Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Hoard

Reviewed by: Nancy
5 out of 5 stars

Plot Summary

A new breed…a new evil…

Hidden deep beneath its landfill lair of trash and filth, a strange new organism has come to life.  When an accidental fire drives it out, the mysterious creature escapes across the drought-blasted Kansas prairie and finds the home of elderly hoarder Anna Grish.  In desperate need of shelter, it burrows in, concealed amidst the squalor and mess.

When Adult Protective Services force Anna to vacate her junk-riddled home, she moves in with her son and his family.  But there is something wrong with Anna, something more than her declining mental condition and severe hoarding disorder.  Something sinister has taken hold of her, and it’s not only getting stronger, it’s spreading. 

Amidst the wide-open Kansas plains, with endless blue sky above and flat, open vista stretching from one horizon to the next, there is nowhere to hide from…THE HOARD.

My Review

I have yet to watch an episode of Hoarders.   I’m just a little scared that I’ll be able to identify with some of their behaviors.  I’m convinced that somewhere deep down lives a little hoarder screaming to get out.   It is mostly books, but sometimes piles of stuff that I haven’t looked at yet or decided where to put it mysteriously grow larger.  When I was unemployed last summer, I decided it was time to do a major cleanup of my bedroom in order to accommodate the new furniture I ordered.   I went through drawers, the closet, top of the dresser, under the bed, and the armoire.  Books, papers, envelopes, pictures, clothing, yarn, craft magazines, buttons, those tiny plastic bags of extra thread that came with garments I no longer have, gifts from past lovers, pens that no longer work, dead batteries, all got sorted out into various piles – to be discarded, to be donated, and to keep.   The stuff I threw away or donated completely filled up five 30-gallon trash bags.  It took me an entire day just to clean out one room, and that’s probably because I spent an inordinate amount of time looking through many of the items before deciding what to do with them.

My bedroom is now clutter-free, but my husband had to go and buy me an under-the-bed storage bin that I’ve somehow managed to fill up with books, receipts, old bills, small empty boxes that could be useful for gift-giving, you get the drift.  One of these days I need to empty it before it gets stuck under the bed.  

This is the first time I’ve read about a hoarder in fiction.  It is only natural and appropriate that the story of Anna Grish should fall squarely in the genre of horror.  Anna is elderly, socially withdrawn and badly needs help. Her hoard has become completely unmanageable, her cats are neglected, and her house is falling apart.   She has a son, Peter, who has inherited the hoarding gene but is kept under control by his fastidious wife and only allowed to clutter the garage.  

Anna doesn’t want help, but she is forced to stay with Peter and his family.  She misses the comfort of her possessions and Peter notices his mother is different.  Something strange is hiding beneath the layers of filth in Anna’s house.  Now it wants Anna.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  It was horrifying, sad, and gripping.  It’s full of realistic and likable characters.  The exploration of Anna’s hoarding disorder, as well as the family’s methods of coping with the problem were sensitively rendered.  

I’m thrilled to have discovered a new horror author and look forward to more of Alan Ryker’s stories.

Also posted at Goodreads

*ARC received from DarkFuse through NetGalley

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