Review: The Switch House by Tim Meyer

The Switch House_Tim Meyer.jpg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I try to approach each book I read with an open mind, but with the hopeful expectation that it will, at the very least, be a decent read. I want to let the author do their thing and then judge for myself how well their story worked for me. Overall, I think I'm pretty good about selecting titles that should work for me based on their synopsis. Sometimes I'm disappointed, sometimes I'm pleased. The best, though, is to discover a work, particularly from a new-to-me author, that proves itself to be positively exceptional.

The Switch House is a slim novel that absolutely rocks right from the get-go, firing on all cylinders the whole way through, catapulting readers from one crazy violent encounter to the next. Tim Meyer takes a no-holds-barred approached to the scenes of bloody mayhem, and there were a few impactful moments that made me wince. He also proves strikingly adept at crafting psychological horror, and one big reveal in the book's climax wrung me dry, my heart lurching as I mentally screamed "HOW COULD YOU?" at one character.

Meyer uses tragedy as the framework here, building his house of horrors around it, revealing additional levels of complexity with each chapter. Bereft over the loss of their child, Angela and Terry sought an escape from their normal lives by auditioning for, and winning a spot in, the reality show, Let's Switch Houses! Returning to their normal lives isn't easy for Angela, especially after she spots a hole in the bathroom wall that peers into...well, elsewhere. She begins having vivid nightmares, realizing that whoever lived in their home during the swap did some very dark things there.

There's so much I want to say about this book, but I fear that so much of it would dive headlong into spoiler territory. I will say that The Switch House is twisty as all get-out, and is the kind of read that will have you questioning the reality of the events and the characters depicted here. I found myself flip-flopping a few times on whether or not Meyer intended this to be a straightforward narrative and on the reliability of Angela's viewpoints. I think I have my answer, but I suspect yours may be quite different.

Despite its short page count, there's an awful lot to digest here. The Switch House is slim in pages, but filled to the brim with concepts and ideas. Meyer pulls in cosmic horror, psychological horror, chaotic and frightening depictions of hell, plenty of paranoia, and bucketfuls of bloody mayhem. It's a rare thing indeed when I finish a book's prologue and already find myself questioning whatever life choices I've made that I'm only just now discovering Tim fucking Meyer. How the hell have I not read this guy before? That's gonna change real fast, I can tell you that right now.

[Note: I received an advance reader's copy of this title for review.]

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Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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