Addison House by Clare McNally

Addison House - Clare McNally

Doreen Addison is in a bind. Her landlord is selling the modest ranch house where she's been fostering local kids. With very little notice and low funds, she doesn't have much hope that she'll find something they can afford. Until, of course, she reaches the last realtor in town who, at the last second, remembers there is this one house....


'Addison House' is a complete wreck, and it is exactly what I needed. I'm not familiar with McNally's work, but I'm going to seek out more of her books. It doesn't take long after moving into the house for things to start going terribly and hilariously wrong.


The desperately lonely Doreen seems to be the only person not to think the handsome stranger who keeps showing up in or around her new house, dropping cryptic references to have been waiting for her, telling her she can't leave, and that he has six horses - something she really latches onto by the way - is maybe related to the crazy shit going on.


There is a whole cast of ghosts including a religious fanatic really concerned about whores taking her man and a scared little boy. The fanatic especially is prone to showing up at the end of chapters to rub her hands together and make villainous pronouncements that take away any atmosphere the events of the chapter had built up.


There were some effective parts featuring the ghosts manipulating or just plain scaring the shit out of the kids, but there was always a balance. A really effective turn where a young girl was almost driven to throwing herself into a near-boiling bath is undercut when her theatrics drive everyone upstairs from dinner. When they eventually march back downstairs they find that all of their fried chicken has vanished. Don't worry, the ghost didn't eat it, it just shows up later in a closet, covered in mold, with a piece of paper with the day of discovery's date on it.


There is a body count to the book, some cheap romance, a wise, raccoon-eating hillbilly, some epic friend-zoning (sorry Dr. Muscly Arms, it doesn't matter that you're a pediatrician - you just don't have enough horses), and a really productive Dr. Phil therapy session at the end to straighten the ghosts out.