The Homecoming: Terror in the family 

A review of Andrew Pyper's chilling thriller

click to enlarge Andrew Pyper’s new thriller/ horror, The Homecoming, is one you won’t want to read alone at night. Photo submitted
  • Andrew Pyper’s new thriller/ horror, The Homecoming, is one you won’t want to read alone at night. Photo submitted

The Homecoming by award-winning Canadian author Andrew Pyper is a wicked and weird blend of science-fiction, thriller, horror, and family drama that reads like a movie on the big screen. Or a nightmare you can't wake up from.

When the Quinlan family patriarch (it would be a stretch to refer to Ray Quinlan as "dad") dies, his will stipulates that in order to inherit his substantial fortune, the entire family must stay together at Belfountain, a vast, isolated estate for an entire month. Supplies will be secretly delivered, but there is to be no contact with the outside world. Aaron, Bridge, Franny and other Quinlan family members were unaware this isolated mansion in the rainforest even existed. But that's just a fraction of what they don't know about their mysterious father.

It's a creepy premise right from the beginning, and the creep factor just keeps swelling. The trapped and troubled family members start experiencing the same dreams at night. There are terrifying encounters in the woods. Blood-stains accumulate, secrets are revealed, identities and motives questioned. The reader knows this is not a book to read in the house alone late at night.

There are dark twists and terrifying surprises throughout, some of which made me back up and re-read parts I'd rushed through. Although I found it difficult to connect with some characters in this book, and some social and scientific themes I wished were further developed, the roller-coaster plot definitely kept me flipping the pages. I could practically hear the soundtrack of low drums, eerie strings, and blood-curdling screams.

Pyper, an Ontario native, has written nine novels and a short story collection. The Killing Circle (2008) was a New York Times best crime novel of the year. The Demonologist (2013) won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Hardcover Novel. Several of his books, including The Homecoming, have been acquired for television and film.

Pyper will be at the 2019 Whistler Writers Festival on Friday, Oct. 18 at 4 p.m. when he will be offering a workshop called Novel Idea Boot Camp on finding compelling and irresistible story concepts. He is also a guest speaker at the Crime Writers Lunch on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 1:15 p.m. at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.

Find your tickets at www.whistlerwritersfest.com

Katherine Fawcett's book The Little Washer of Sorrows (2015, Thistledown Press) was shortlisted for the ReLit award and the Sunburst Award for excellence in Canadian Fiction of the Fantastical. Her new book The Swan Suit will be released this spring by Douglas & McIntyre. She lives in Squamish.

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