The House on Hayden Pond – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

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J. Monks

In J. Monks’s The House on Hayden Pond, Paul Bolton is excited to move his family into their dream house. Inherited from a deceased family member who curiously left it out of his will, the spacious country home is the answer to Paul’s desperate prayers. However, the house on Hayden Pond has a dark history, eviler than anything Paul could have ever imagined. There’s a demonic presence within its walls that soon begins mercilessly terrorizing his family. The Boltons have an unlikely ally who is trying to protect them, but that may not be enough to help them survive the gruesome horrors in store for them.

The House on Hayden Pond is a good horror story, but perhaps, a bit too cliché. It resembles dozens of other, quite similar haunted house-themed horror stories. Its plot may intrigue readers who are new to this genre, but seasoned horror fans may grow tired of its familiarity. However, what may alienate all readers is The House on Hayden Pond’s odd pacing. The entire plot seems overwhelmingly rushed and unbalanced; J. Monks races through each scene and fumbles with the conclusion, all while trying to juggle too many details at once. Paired with confusing and sudden shifts in point of view, The House on Hayden Pond lacks the gripping suspense that the horror genre requires.

Despite all that, The House on Hayden Pond is, overall, quite an enjoyable book. It is filled with vivid imagery and descriptive details; the pure imagination and vision that went into this novel is impressive. J. Monks writes scary scenes frighteningly well, and shows a lot of promise as a horror writer. The House on Hayden Pond does severely need a developmental overhaul, but it’s also a fantastic hint at what to expect in the future from J. Monks, who already appears to be a rising talent in the horror genre.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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