The Grip of It by Jac Jemc
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Jac Jemc’s The Grip of It is where Southern Gothic meets millennial anxiety, and it’s a match made in the depths of hell. Of course, that’s exactly the point of this wholly disturbing psychological thrill ride. Jemc plays so intelligently with the fear that preys on coincidence and misperception–is that stain getting larger? Does anyone else hear that faint humming sound? Was that shadow I saw for a split second actually real, or just my imagination? When we can’t trust our own judgment, our minds can start to unravel, and Jemc builds that sense of disease so slowly that the reader almost doesn’t realize it before it’s too late. One of the delicious torments of this novel is the uncertainty that permeates every moment, which Jemc balances with indelible images of haunting that will make you hug a pillow for dear life as you read. Read it as an allegory of a dishonest marriage or just a good old-fashioned haunted house story. Either way, it’s creepily, deeply enjoyable.