Published by Hodder & Stoughton on July 26, 2022
Genres: Fiction, Horror, Ghost, Psychological
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Based on the Reddit sensation, a horror thriller of a young couple who buys the perfect, secluded house—only to discover the terror within. It’s the house of their dreams. Former marine Harry and his wife, Sasha, have packed up their life and their golden retriever, Dash, and fled the corporate rat race to live off the land in rural Idaho. Their breathtaking new home sits on more than forty acres of meadow, aspen trees, and pine forest in the Teton Valley. Even if their friends and family think it’s a strange choice for an up-and-coming pair of urban professionals, Harry and Sasha couldn’t be happier about the future they’re building, all by their lonesome.
That is, until their nearest neighbors, Dan and Lucy Steiner, come bearing more than housewarming gifts. Dan and Lucy warn Harry and Sasha of a malevolent spirit that lives in the valley, one that with every season will haunt them in fresh, ever-more-diabolical ways. At first, it seems like an old wives’ tale. But when spring arrives, so does the first evil manifestation, challenging everything Harry and Sasha thought they knew about the world.
As each season passes, the spirit grows stronger, the land more sinister, and each encounter more dangerous. Will Harry and Sasha learn the true meaning of a forever home before it’s too late? Haunting and bone-chilling, Old Country is a spellbinding debut in the horror genre.
Old Country is beautifully raw and barbaric. A masterclass in suspense. A fully immersive experience – the rugged landscape, the weather and the deep seated fear made me take note.
Holy mother… this book! I’ve heard about the hype surrounding it, and let me tell you, it doesn’t do it justice. Old Country is a dangerous book that might lead to your heart-stopping.
It’s a reading experience. The build-up is slow and startling. You can feel the unease creeping into the shadows of your mind. I felt panicky at the reveal to come. You knew something was ready to jump out but the when was very much a threat on the wind. There was always something perceived that had me on edge. My body was wrought with tension, and I resembled a coiled spring.
Harry, an ex-marine, Sasha, and their retriever, Dash, have made a massive leap of faith by buying a rural ranch in Idaho. It’s been Harry’s dream since being honourably discharged from active service after being hit by an IED. After meeting Sasha, he knew he wanted to share all his dreams and aspirations with her. Their forever home is surrounded by lush meadows, forests, and breathtaking mountainscapes. They buy without viewing the property, and when they arrive for the first time, they know instantly that this was a gamble that paid off.
Their neighbours quickly introduce themselves as Lucy and Dan, a couple in their 70s who’ve been living in the Idaho wilderness for many years. They tell them about the rules for surviving in the sticks, and things start to get very weird. Harry doesn’t like what he’s hearing – a spirit that takes a new form during the spring, summer, and autumn seasons. Let’s be realistic; it sounds like the ramblings of a madman, right? However, Harry and Sasha must follow these rules to the letter; otherwise, the spirit can reach them and harm them. It sounds very sinister, and as the seasons start emerging, the couple realise that Lucy and Dan were right – they are bound by the spirit of the land.
Authors like to add an edge to their stories; this is no exception. Old Country uses the ancient myths and superstitions of a long-gone age and implements them into the tale with gusto and fervour. The authors succeeded in injecting the right dose of horror and creeping dread as the trap of the spirit closes in on them. Harry and Sasha see the events through two different sets of glasses. One tackles it with the military precision he was accustomed to, and Sasha is much quicker to adapt to their strange circumstances.
I enjoyed the dual-person POV, but I did struggle at times with harry’s single-minded focus. He could act selfishly and needs to deal with his hair-trigger temper. Old Country was almost unbearable to watch. The events would unravel with the speed of an avalanche. I wondered how much would be revealed to us and how much I’d still be left to slot into place.