Review: How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix

Review by Lex Weber

After reading How to Sell a Haunted House, Grady Hendrix’s newest horror release, I’ve started to realize that maybe my brother was right to be afraid of my dolls growing up. Or, at least, I won’t want to look at a doll for another month until I’m convinced it doesn’t have a mind of its own with demented intentions.

In this wickedly addictive novel, Louise is a single mother living in San Francisco who has just heard of the passing of her traditionally southern South Carolinian parents. As she dreads flying across the country to reconcile with her younger brother, Mark, she is tasked with putting her childhood home up for sale. 

Mark and Louise, though, have a complicated sibling relationship packed full of years of resentment and sibling rivalry. But, even the woes of their relationship is put to the sideline as the house they’re preparing to sell is haunted with the ghosts of their past as well as the ghosts within their mother’s elaborate puppet and doll collection.

Overall, Hendrix’s horror novels are as inviting as they are terrifying. Despite my newly unlocked fear, Hendrix always has the ability to leave me wanting more. The author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, My Best Friend’s Exorcism and Final Girl Support Group has the masterful skill of mixing 80s nostalgia with occult horror. 

This book is the perfect introduction to the horror genre if you are not familiar with it, or have never considered reading a book that might give you trouble falling asleep. Not only is it written to keep you on the edge of your seat, but also touches upon the intricacies of family history and sibling relationships. 

Hendrix does a great job of writing in a way that makes you feel as though you’re unpacking the past with Mark and Louise. As the siblings work through their fractured relationship and their struggle to get the house on the market, you also learn that their family wasn’t exactly what it may have appeared to be. 

The understanding of grief and passage of family trauma were aspects I was not anticipating from this book. As a fan of Hendrix’s work, I felt as though this novel differed from his past works in its ability to touch the vulnerability of dealing with childhood traumas, grieving, and reconciling with the things we cannot change. 

If you’re in the market for a novel that will break your heart on the same page that it makes your heart race out of your chest, then consider picking this up, if you dare!