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Sick House

Narrated by: Joe Hempel
Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
Categories: Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Horror
3.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

It's a home invasion from beyond the grave in this novel of unrelenting terror from the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of Pressure, Dweller, and Wolf Hunt.  

It doesn't seem like the perfect house, but screw it, it's good enough to rent for a year. Unfortunately for Boyd, Adeline, and their two young daughters, it's immediately clear they chose the wrong place.  

The nightmare begins with violent coughs and headaches. Food starts to rot almost as soon as they take it inside. A pet tarantula goes missing. Some family members begin to exhibit creepy behavior.  

Then the ghosts arrive, and all hell breaks loose....

©2018 Jeff Strand (P)2018 Jeff Strand

What listeners say about Sick House

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Profile Image for Natalie @ ABookLoversLife
  • Natalie @ ABookLoversLife
  • 06-07-2018

Deliciously dark!

When Boyd gets a promotion, he has to rent a new place closer to work, they find a house they think is perfect for them, but things start turning bad pretty quickly! Food starts spoiling nearly as soon as it's brought into the house, Boyd starts feeling sick, and the rest of the family start acting weird. But it's when the ghosts start turning up that things take a descent into darkness. The plot of this was good...ish. The first half of the book was intriguing, entertaining and had me hooked, but then things start going weird and that's why it's a 4 star and not a 5 star read. The author builds the tension nicely from the start, and I loved that! It made me eager to see what was going to happen next. I even liked it when the ghosts came and things started ramping up, but then Gina enters and things just go weird. Never the less, the plot was good and I liked it for the most part. I liked Boyd and his family. They just want a nice place to live, but are thrown into something that shouldn't involve them. The most uncomfortable parts were to do with the daughter. It broke my heart and was tough to read!! One thing I've seen with this author is how he makes such great characters! They are easy to like and I was rooting for them all the way through. In all, this was a good read. Even with it being so dark, it still had a lot of funny moments which added much needed levity to the overall story. Joe Hempel is one of the best, especially when he reads Horror. He knows how to bring the atmosphere and tension to life. He has plenty of tones and voices for all the characters and was easy to listen to.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 25-06-2018

Sick House...yep.

I received this audiobook free from the author or narrator, yet I give my honest review here. I enjoyed this book a lot. I was expecting one thing (typical haunted house) - but the author added some interesting twists that take the reader/listener into new territory. (If you were hoping for spoilers - sorry!) I was a little disappointed, though, because (around half-way through) I thought the book was peaking a little early - but then it went in a whole new direction. Enter Gina. After all - she is largely to blame for the house being what it is. Listen through to the epilogue - that's where one of the big twists comes. To be such a sick and twisted story - there was quite a lot of humor. No, really. What does that say about my sense of humor? I couldn't go all the way to 5 stars with the story because there were a few places where I thought the story got just a touch silly. But all in all, it was very much a good story. The narrator gave a very good performance. His pacing and rhythm were good. Easy to listen to with no jarring changes in loudness. I thought his voices were by and large very good - especially the witch. There were a few times when I couldn't see a lot of separation between the voices of the two daughters and the mom - but that's tough to do. Same goes for the three ghosts. Nevertheless, he did a great job.

5 people found this helpful

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  • timj26
  • 06-10-2019

Watch out for black mould

A house is cursed when the sister of a murdered witch takes matters in her own hands I thought the author did a great job introducing new elements to the haunted house genre Excellent narration from the very talented joe hempel As a fan of Jeff strand this was one of his best highly recommended I received a free review audiobook and voluntarily left this review

4 people found this helpful

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  • Al
  • 08-07-2018

More gory than scary

I received a free copy of the audiobook with the option of leaving a review. Boyd was stuck in a rut when a choice promotion makes it seems like his luck has turned. Off to a new town and renting a decent house for a family used to a small apartment makes it all look like a dream come true. Then weird things start to happen. I kind of liked this. The setup and premise were interesting, as was the actual ending. I liked the family, they were normal at face value, but there was some deeper stuff hidden away that was pushed to the fore as the story carried on. The initial interaction with the house was good, food rotting, the tarantula going missing and so forth. The fact that only the family suffered was a nice touch. The narrator did a good job, and the writing was terrific at times, but here's the rub - after a creepy start, it went from potentially scary to a silly splatterfest. I found myself zoning out far too often after the last quarter or so of the novel, having been very engaged for the first 75%. If you don't like gore, either because it makes you barf or makes you bored, you should probably steer clear of this. I liked most of it, so I'd definitely be interested in checking out another Jeff Strand work though. Give this one 3.5/5.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Carole Wooten
  • 04-07-2018

You don't want to move into this house...

I had a good time with this book. This was a really nice change of pace which was exactly what I was looking for. I don't read horror all that often but I almost always enjoy it when I do decide to pick one up. This was a really quick read that hooked me right from the start. I am so glad that I decided to pick up something a little different than my usual reading fare. Boyd and his family are excited to get a fresh start when he gets a promotion. They find what they believe to be a perfect house for their family in their new town and are thrilled to move in. Then some strange things start happening. Food goes bad almost as soon as it comes into the house. There is an incident with the family's pet tarantula. Then things really start to get crazy. I really liked Boyd and his family right from the start. They really seemed to be excited about the move and they kept a pretty positive attitude about things until events became out of control. I loved the way that Boyd and his wife, Adeline, always put the kids first and did everything in their power to protect them. The kids seemed to handle things better than could be expected and some pretty important scenes in the book revolve around them so they were important players in the story. I did enjoy the first half of the book a bit more than the second half. I was almost holding my breath trying to figure out what was going on in this house. I knew that something big would happen and I think the anticipation really added to the overall enjoyment for me. After some of the big events started, the excitement level stayed at a very high level until the book came to a conclusion. I did enjoy the action and liked that there were some pretty creepy and gory scenes but the mystery of the story seemed to fade a bit. I did appreciate the epilogue and liked that there were a few surprises saved until the very end of the novel. This was my first experience listening to Joe Hempel's narration and I kind of feel like I might have been missing out. I thought he did a fantastic job with this book and I am pretty sure that I liked the story even more because I made the decision to listen to the book. He did a great job with all of the voices and was able to add a lot of excitement to the story. I definitely hope to listen to more books by this narrator in the future. I would recommend this book to horror fans. This was a really interesting take on a haunted house story with plenty of gruesome and scary moments to keep things entertaining. This was my first time reading any of Jeff Strand's work and I look forward to reading more in the future. I received a review copy of this audiobook from the narrator or author via Audiobook Boom.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Spooky Mike
  • 02-07-2018

This House is Sick

Wow, Jeff Strand knows how to creep me out. This story played on two of my phobia’s quite well, kind of wish he pushed it further, kind of glad he didn’t. Have to say this was the first book that I didn’t want to listen to right before I went to bed. Had to watch some TV just to relax from listening. Needless to say once daylight came around I was quick to go back and hear the rest of the story and get some resolution. Have to say I didn’t see the ending coming together the way it did and really was impressed. I enjoyed the character’s relationships the most. Boyd’s family was your basic family and I liked their interactions with each other. Since Boyd is the main character it is told from his perspective and as a father I appreciated his interaction with his wife and kids as well as his end goal in providing for his family. They seemed like a real family and it made the series of events more traumatic as I fully felt like I was right there with them. This was quite a different type of haunted house. The “Home invasion from beyond the grave” description is spot on. The blending of the haunted house and history of how the haunting started worked perfectly. Wasn’t sure where things were going initially with some of the back story but when it comes together it really knocks it out of the park. The home invaders are some sick individuals and their piece of this story is really twisted and disturbing. Definitely needed a shower after listening to their tale. Joe Hempel did a fantastic job with this narration. I blame him for me needing to switch to something lighter before bed. The tension he is able to convey through his narration really kept me on edge. I’m still freaked out about that damn spider. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

9 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Bill
  • Bill
  • 13-07-2018

Jeff Strand is good. Real good.

Jeff Strand is good. Real good. If you haven't read/listened to him, then you are missing out. Sick house is a good and enjoyable story. Not my favorite of Mr. Strands, but he has set the bar pretty high for himself which may have hurt him here a little bit. A good Strand is still head and shoulders above most.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Neona
  • 28-06-2018

Sick and Depraved

This was my first time listening to a book by Jeff Strand. I selected it because the narrator, Joe Hempel narrates several other authors I enjoy, mainly Ambrose Ibsen. I listened to about four hours of this six hour book and although it started off promising enough it got sick and twisted pretty quickly. I'm not into blood, guts and graphic descriptions of violence, if that's your thing, you'll probably really enjoy this book. Warning: This book does have some gruesome scenes involving children.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Erin B
  • 27-06-2018

Excellent Haunting!

This was an excellent book. The story was intriguing, engaging and kept moving. It definitely held my attention. There were some flashback parts but they were done so well that there was no confusion between past and present. I find that sometimes flashbacks, if written in wrong, can cause confusion and take away from the story. Not this one, they were done perfectly. I didn’t think there were any “slow moving” parts either. The story flowed along very well and at a decent pace, making it interesting and easy to listen to. I thought that the narration was done very well too. It was a good horror story that had some unexpected twists and turns but I didn’t think they were bad ones; they added to the story and actually made it better than the standard haunted house book. I was provided a free copy of this book at my request for honest and unbiased review.

2 people found this helpful

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  • geevesnc
  • 21-09-2018

Some good parts

I would say that this book was ok. Not really scary. I swear the narrator kept say conscious instead of conscience! lol So much juvenile back and forth between the characters and toward the end, I almost stopped listening as the resolution took FOREVER.

1 person found this helpful

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  • SarahC1985
  • 28-11-2018

Gory in the extreme, brilliant

Not like any haunted house novel I've read before. Clever, unique, and one thing I've noticed about strand from reading a previous book of his, he doesn't skimp on detail. Same is true here. Very violent, with no details left out. Very clever ending, finished it in one sitting. I enjoyed the past, more than the present to this book. Good plot, a lot of suspense, mystery, and as already stated, violence. As far as the gore goes, I'd almost put this on a par with Halloween. I'd say the same I said then. If you like violent horror, along with a clever plot, this book is for you.

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  • Karen
  • 03-07-2018

Sic

One of the best ghost stories I've listened too. If you love horror/ghost stories this is definately well worth a listen. It had me hooked from start to finish Will be looking for more books by this author and narrator I was given this book in exchange for an honest review

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rhona
  • 19-03-2020

Not bad, not great

Not the most exciting listen, I think that the haunted house type of scenario has perhaps been used once too often. But it could just be me.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-01-2020

Great story.

As we can expect from Jeff Strand the story and characters are extremely well written. Joe Hempel is an very neat and precise narrator but unfortunately he just doesn't seem to bring the characters to life. I say this after listening to several Jeff Strand audiobooks.

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  • Norma Miles
  • 03-11-2019

Many people would love to be a severed head.

It all started so well: Boyd Gardiner is promoted by his company requiring the whole family - wife and two daughters of 8 and 13 - to move to a new location. Without the money to buy, they rent a promising house, larger than the one they had before, enjoying the extra space the new accommodation offers. But things start going wrong immediately: fresh fruit and dairy products go bad, the pet tarantula escapes and two of them start feeling ill and coughing. But it is when the first ghost arrives that life takes on a really dangerous aspect. This quick to read book is not so much a creepy ghost story as a gore fest with all the stops pulled out. Three men, themselves brutal killers, murdered by an angry witch before the arrival of the Gardiners at the house, are determined to take back their lives. There are some enjoyable incidents, such as the visit from the policeman, but there was just too much slog it out and beat them down violence with litt!e else to move the story onward for the length of book. Reduced by half, it could have been good fun. Sadly, I found myself distracted and not bothering to listen, just tuning in occasionally, after about the halfway mark. Even the excellent narration by Joe Hempel, with his impressive story telling skills and individual character voicings, was insufficient to maintain my interest. With a little more quirkiness in the characters, and far less prolonged violence, this book would have been slightly reminiscent of the fabulous Beetlejuice. But as it is, the plot is schizophrenic, unsure whether to be comedy or horror violence and, after the promising beginning, really succeeding in being, mostly, only boring.

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  • Andromeda's Twin
  • 10-10-2019

Best ghost story

I love bizarre and twisted ghost stories and this one was a real treat. A twisted trio are hired to kill a woman, by persons unknown, it all starts going wrong for them from there .... A man ( Boyd) gets a promotion and needs a new home in a differerent town, he picked the wrong house, the sick house. Boyd's family suffer some nasty conseqences of moving into the wrong home and then just when they think it might all work out, everything takes a turn for the hellish. This book is mostly concerned with those hellish consequences, be warned, it's not nice but it IS fun. I particularly liked the ending. Narration was superb and I totally recommend this book to all lovers of horrible ghost stories, horror stories in general and weird twisted stories in particular. I was lucky enough to recieve a free review copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review, which is what you have here, I really did enjoy this book very much.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-06-2019

Think i like Jeff Stands writing!!!

Didn’t think id like this as not really into haunted houses but this had me griped, loved it and loved the ending, I’d listen again.

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  • Jeff
  • 03-10-2018

I would love to see this as a movie

I love horror and the story line is just perfect for classic shit your pants horror you are reading this but your are not expecting anything so I am not giving anything away just make sure to keep extra underwear with you at all times

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  • Dee
  • 07-10-2019

Got bored

I'm afraid by the time anything of interest had happened i was already bored and didn't care. Was just hoping the family would hurry up and get killed. This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.