Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey
Amid a desert of ARCs I didn’t love, Just Like Home reminded me that I do, in fact, enjoy reading.
Vera is the daughter of a notorious small-town serial killer and the daughter of a mother who did all she could to cash in on the crimes. Unfortunately, that means that Vera carries a certain amount of notoriety around herself, something she’s worked hard to avoid by staying as anonymous and far away from home as possible.
But, then, her mother tells her to come home, back to the Crowder House: where her father committed his sins and where he showed so much love and tenderness for young Vera — real paternal love, not the twisted face of a serial killer.
The tension in this book is fantastic, and Vera’s feelings about her father play at the core of the strain. Her dad is the one who murdered a bunch of people in her home, but it’s Vera’s mom who is the evil person. The malicious Daphne shut Vera out, capitalized on her pain, and, as Vera discovers, recently let an artist move into the guest house so he could shake the house — and the family — down for more of their secrets and whatever shreds of Vera’s dignity remain.
Did Vera’s father want her to follow in his footsteps? Was he evil or misunderstood — or misled? Why does the house seem to hold so much power over its residents? What will Vera’s legacy be, coming from parents like hers?
It’s a heavy, psychological slow burn until the plot ignites with a supernatural element setting off a rapid, enthralling crescendo into absolutely riveting creepiness. I loved the characters, the scene, and the writing. All around, a fantastically, viscerally eerie book that lodged itself into my brain for a while.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.