Armageddon House: Michael Griffin
Reviewed By Steve Stred
‘Armageddon House‘ by Michael Griffin is one of those books that came onto my radar via a Twitter suggestion. I believe it was Shane from Ink Heist’s tweet I saw saying that Griffin was looking to connect with reviewers for reviews and so I reached out and bingo bango, a digital copy was kindly sent over by the great folks at Undertow Publications.
Not since ‘At the End of the Day I Burst Into Flames‘ and ‘All Hail the House Gods‘ have I been this enraptured with a book where at each passing page I tried to figure out what was happening, but had absolutely no idea where it was going.
What I liked: The premise is simple: four people live in an underground bunker. That’s it. But it isn’t that simple. The four continually see changes, both in each other but in this place they inhabit. Bits and pieces of memories come back, but not enough to fully remember them before. They all know something happened, the world ended somehow, but are they an experiment? Paranoia over who knows what and how much really drives the narrative and Griffin always gives you a little bit more, to keep you following that carrot before you. I loved the pacing and how Mark was the main character but not really. That may not make sense, but after you’ve read it, you’ll understand. There was one moment that really had my cage rattled – when it was Mark’s turn to clean up a specific room. It was just a fantastic little slice of crazy and it heightened everything that happened after.
What I didn’t like: As with most books like this, it’ll drive some people bonkers that there are no clear cut and well-defined answers. For me, I really dig that because it makes me fill in the blanks, but I can see that being a point of contention with some readers.
Why you should buy it: If you loved the two books I previously mentioned, this will sit nicely alongside them. It’s just a speeding train with no brakes and you want to know what is going on and they why. For most readers, this will be an easy one-sitting read, but it’s a book that has intricate, infinite layers and one that’ll stay with the reader long after they’ve finished. I may actually dive back in after a month or so and see if a re-read unearth’s any new clues to the ending.
Utopia. Four people living together deep underground in a subterranean facility. All their needs provided for. Food, water, medicine. A swimming pool; a gym; a bar. Except none of them can recall exactly how they came to be there, or what they are supposed to do. Dystopia. Where are the others? There must have been others. It’s a huge facility, after all. It must be some sort of experiment. They’re test subjects. How long have they been there? When will they get out? How come there has been no outside contact? Utopia or dystopia. As the questions mount, so does the tension. Who will escape Armageddon House?
Michael Griffin’s riveting new novella ARMAGEDDON HOUSE grabs you and doesn’t let go. It will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. This is a haunted house of a different sort.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of three novels, a number of novellas and four collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
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