Publisher: Kindle Press
Publication Date: 17th March 2015
REVIEWED BY ELAINE
A copy of Housebroken was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, The Behrg, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Kindle Press.
At its heart, Housebroken, has a crisis that many of us can relate to. The main character, Blake Crochet, must constantly toggle between taking no action to ascertain the safety of his family, or taking heroic measures, which may result in danger and death for all. While many of us are not faced (thankfully) with the threat of extreme violence, we often encounter situations in which we regret either speaking up/taking action, or saying/doing nothing. Contemporary fiction nihilistically portrays the consequences of complacent inaction, but none with more gusto than Housebroken.
Housebroken is about a family that seems idyllic, but is truly broken. Blake, a successful businessman, has a history of resigning himself to hurt during the many tragedies his family has faced. He is fully capable of providing for an upper class life, but seems disengaged from the emotional needs of those he loves. His wife, Jenna, is resentful of Blake’s inability to risk everything for the love of his family. His son, Adam, has a fourteen-year-old’s disappointed view of parents who are far from perfect. Meanwhile, Adam is hiding some imperfections of his own.
Enter the lisping and unfortunate looking George, who becomes known as “Joje,” as that is how he pronounces his own name. Joje is very interested in Blake, and comes to his door under the guise of selling magazines. Blake is immediately and snobbishly repulsed by the simpering young man, yet Joje pushes on, asking to shadow Blake as a project (“pwoject”). Blake shuts the door to his new mansion in Joje’s face and believes that will be their final encounter.
The following day, when Blake is running late to the office, he “accidentally” hits Joje with his car, and is forced to drag the young man into his home with the intention of paying him off. It soon becomes clear that Joje set up the accident, so that he, along with the help of his “brother,” the hulking Drew, can take the family hostage. Joje doesn’t want any of the money or glitter that readers of the first few chapters might find tantalizing—such as the fire pit in the middle of the swimming pool, or the authentic samurai sword that hangs in the guest room—instead he wants to complete his “pwoject” which is to watch the family for seven days. There are rules that must be followed: no one can know about the project, there can be no phones/communication, and, most importantly, Blake, Jenna and Adam must stick to their normal routine.
Seven days is a long time to be trapped with two psychopaths and The Behrg excels at placing the victims in Catch 22’s that accelerate in terms of repercussions. Joje claims to not like violence, and yet the family’s punishments for breaking his rules are quite demented and often graphic. Drew is just as vicious and has very unsavory plans in store for Jenna. What is most interesting is that as the characters develop, the Crotchets come across as not entirely likeable. I wouldn’t say they deserve the treatment they receive, but when you get to the core of their personalities, they are quite flawed. Disturbingly, they share some flaws with their captors.
While this book is a “home invasion” story, the setting changes often enough to hold interest, and also to shake up the pairing of characters. The interactions and dialogue are realistic, and the Joje/Drew team is believably threatening. The pace is intense, the action insane, and I really want Adam to get a sequel as there is a darkness to him that could be further explored.
I really cannot give anymore away, but suffice to say, the Behrg stayed one step ahead of me at all times. Housebroken is a fantastic horror novel that is not for the faint of heart. I have not been this swept away by a thriller in a long time!
☆☆☆☆☆ a MUST read!
☆☆☆☆☆ and again!
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“It was a kidnapping, but in all the wrong ways. No ransom, no demands; there was nothing they wanted–other than to observe.”
When Blake Crochet and his family are taken hostage in their own home, they are forced to act out their everyday lives under the observance of two psychotic kidnappers. Each moment Blake must pit the decision to follow their captors’ rules against the potential catastrophe of a failed escape.
He soon learns that the consequences of both action and inaction are more terrifying than he imagined. As Blake’s life erodes beneath him, secrets come to light that threaten to destroy his family before their kidnappers have a chance.
Secrets carry consequences too.
As the motives behind the kidnapping are revealed, Blake must sacrifice everything to hold on to the ever-shifting definition of what his family has become. In his battle for survival, he will face the ultimate consequence: for to fight a devil, you may have to become one yourself.
CONFESSIONS REVIEWS THE BERHG
The Behrg is the author of dark literary works ranging from screenplays to ‘to-do’ lists. His debut novel, Housebroken, was a First-Round Kindle Scout Selection, and semi-finalist in the 2015 Kindle Book Awards.
His latest novel, The Creation, is the first in a dark supernatural trilogy about a ‘god-like’ being starting the seven days of the Creation over again. Books two and three are due out in 2016.
The Behrg’s ‘to-do’ list should be completed by 2017… (though his wife is hoping for a little sooner).
A former child actor turned wanna-be rockstar, The Behrg lives in Southern California with his four children, pet Shih-Tzu, and the many voices in his head.
And for more about The Behrg, visit his site or find him on social media: