Theta House – Jim X Dodge (Earth Island Books)

Author Jim X Dodge really makes this book writing gig look easy. You take a bunch of characters that we can identify with in some form, you put them in a perilous situation and voila, you have yourself a novel.

But if it was that easy, we’d all be doing it right?

That’s why we leave the writing up to people like Jim and we just enjoy the ride. He’s been doing it since he was 14 years old and ‘Theta House’ shows just what he is capable of. It’s classic horror at it’s finest and it all starts with an anonymous email:-

“Dearest Fiend,
You are cordially invited to attend the first ever Theta House

With one email, the lives of six college kids are about to change forever. The promise of a $1000 dollar prize for just showing up and a further $1000 for the winner proves to good to turn down for these six kids from various cultural backgrounds. There’s the emo kid, the transgender kid, the Asian twins and there’s the spoilt jock friends. Six volatile ingredients to add to the pot that is the mysterious Theta House. Can they team up, should they team up or will they be forced to work together against a common enemy or are the differences between them too toxic to overcome? Dodge’s work in the first few chapters is rewarded further down the line as his development of the characters back story upfront, helps us identify who we are siding with and who we want to see meet a gory end, when the action heats up and it does heat up in very rewarding fashion. The last few chapters fly by in a very satisfying manner, with Doddge’s descriptions of the mayhem, placing you right in the middle of the action. Jim has also put the work in to add little tidbits of social and political commentary giving us further food for thought when it comes to our relationship with the characters. But if that is not what you are looking for in a Horror novel, then fear not as there will be blood. Oh yes!

“Theta House” is something of a “House On Haunted Hill” for generation Z and at 79 pages long, is an easily digestable bit of reading that can be carried out in an afternoon in the sun, or a short flight. But however you choose to digest Theta House, just make sure that you do….Chris Andrews

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