How to Sell a Haunted House is a horror novel devoid of clichés

One of The New York’s Times’ most anticipated books of 2023 is How to Sell a Haunted House, written by the award winning author Grady Hendrix. How to Sell a Haunted House is a psychological thriller piece of fiction about a pair of siblings, Louis and Mark, who are going through the death of their parents and working on their troubled relationship while attempting to sell their parents home. Which, as they find out shortly, is in fact haunted with dolls that are against the idea. 

Introducing the readers with the opening line of a supposedly shocking confession of the pregnancy of Louis, it holds no relevance at all. It’s only there to draw in the readers and give us the background of the main character’s age and family, which normally wouldn’t be an issue because this is a standalone book rather than a trilogy. Chapter one, with its radically different tone and too little of the horror action that holds importance to the story, was completely unnecessary and could have been removed with no issue.

There is no book without positives and How to Sell a Haunted House has no short of it. For one, the main cast goes from our middle aged siblings to a 7 year old. Although unusual for its variety of ages, it’s a breath of fresh air from the classic irresponsible young adults found commonly in any horror fiction. Another thing that’s remarkable is the subtle detailing of the scenes that lets the sharp eyed readers figure out situations in the past, giving off the impression that Hendrix was dedicated and planned the book thoroughly. 

Overall, I think this book has a weaker premise compared to other Grady Hendrix books, and How to Sell a Haunted House is definitely not his greatest work. The chapters were overdramatizing situations, which is to be expected, but the readers couldn’t care less about a character death or pregnancy in the opening chapters. A rating of 4/5 is reasonable, I wouldn’t claim it’s his Mona Lisa or recommend it to avid readers of Hendrix, but for casual readers looking for horror fiction that’s outside of the usual clichés, then it’s a perfect fit.