The Grip of It

Jac Jemc
The Grip of It Cover

The Grip of It


Julie and James Khoury have reached a rough patch in their marriage. James's compulsive gambling has almost drained their bank accounts. In search of a fresh start, they decide to abandon the city for small-town life. They find an ideal location, -- a large, Victorian-style house in a rural setting outside a small but not too small community. The house is more house than they need, but the price is surprisingly low. They buy it.

Clearly Julie and James do not watch the SyFy Channel or Showtime Beyond, nor do they choose films from the horror selection on Netflix. If they did they would know they were making a mistake on a par with going to investigate a property inherited from one or the other's great uncle they've never heard of, or hosting party in an abandoned mental hospital.

I was prepared to either appreciate the set up as classic or dismiss it as cliché. But once the trouble begins I settled back to enjoy the ride. Jac Jemc does not set out to undermine the haunted house story. She just wants to write a really good one, which she does. By the time Julie finds herself trapped in a room that shouldn't exist and the threats appear written on the walls, you will be asking the inevitable question, "Why don't they just leave?" The answer is always the same: There wouldn't be a story if they left.

Jemc even has a happy ending of sorts. The neurologist and psychiatrist that have gotten involved offer explanations that satisfy themselves. Julie and James know what they have seen but see the wisdom of not pushing the matter. And best of all, the house retains its market value.