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The Grip of It

By: Jac Jemc
Length: 6 hrs and 31 mins
Categories: Fiction, Horror
3.5 out of 5 stars (136 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Julie and James settle into a house in a small town outside the city where they met. The move - prompted by James' penchant for gambling, his inability to keep his impulses in check - is quick and seamless; both Julie and James are happy to leave behind their usual haunts and start afresh. But this house, which sits between lake and forest, has plans for the unsuspecting couple.

As Julie and James try to settle into their home and their relationship, the house and its surrounding terrain become the locus of increasingly strange happenings. The architecture - claustrophobic, riddled with hidden rooms within rooms - becomes unrecognizable, decaying before their eyes. Stains are animated on the wall - contracting, expanding - and map themselves onto Julie's body in the form of bruises; mold spores taint the water that James pours from the sink. Together the couple embark on a panicked search for the source of their mutual torment, a journey that mires them in the history of their peculiar neighbors and the mysterious residents who lived in the house before Julie and James.

Written in creepy, potent prose, The Grip of It is an enthralling, psychologically intense novel that deals in questions of home: how we make it and how it in turn makes us, inhabiting the bodies and the relationships we cherish.

©2017 Jac Jemc (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Wait....what??

I wanted to like this book, but I actually couldn't figure out what was actually going on - the entire story just kind of flew right by me. Which may have been the point. I get it - the characters are unwittingly stumbling around in ever murkier insanity and confusion - does that mean I have to as well? Overly esoteric - and at times incongruent - adverbials take away from the storyline - the prose itself is overly descriptive to the point of being a bit obnoxious. Is it super clever to relate brain matter to a flaking diamond? To call a spouse and not-spouse, a her a "not-her?" Does flesh "convince?" Too much talk, not enough action. Which is too bad, because I think there's a good story in there: good character development; storyline flow that didn't have any glaring gaps in suspension of belief; believable, well-paced dialogue. But the language itself left me clueless. I found myself wondering "Is this a dream sequence? Stream of consciousness? Opposite-land? What is actually HAPPENING?" Maybe this audiobook is only for the very smart and very avant-garde, but I didn't get it, and as a former copy editor I would have told the writer "Less talk, more action." While listening to this audiobook I kept being reminded of an overly-eager creative writing student who needs to step very, very far away from the Thesaurus.

The narration, by the way, was good, but without direction it was all just talk.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Julie's narrator was awful but the book was good

The book was creepy and paranormal. Definitely some bone chilling scenes, however Julie's narrator spoke so awkwardly, it made it hard to concentrate on the novel. I kept focusing on how awkward she was speaking and wondering if I was listening to a robot or a human... overall, it's a quick read that gives you the paranormal creep feeling. The ending was sub par. There were no answers to the questions. Maybe that's what makes the book perfectly analytical, because you can create your own ending from the author's story line. However I prefer the book to have the answers to why, rather than have the reader determine that.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

starts strong but never finishes

as much as I wanted to love this book, I didn't find the story all that compelling. starts off of the great premise, but deteriorates into flowery language that leaves the reader more confused than anxious or scared. book starts out with a lot of plot motion but then gets stuck in a cycle that never goes anywhere.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • CW
  • 11-29-17

Marriage at its ookiest-spookiest

A Cassevetes-esque relationship drama set against a surrealist haunted house nightmare. Beautifully written and narrated quite well.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Subtle and creepy

This is one of the better "horror" novels I've read in quite some time. Subtle yet genuinely creepy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • cristina
  • Somerville, MA, United States
  • 08-30-17

Ultimately disappointing

I think the best kind of horror stories build. You get to uncover some mystery in bites and pieces. This novel seemed to stall for a long time in the middle. No new information, just the couple being subjected to the same "haunting," chapter after chapter after chapter.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Interesting Story/ Tired Characters

I am not even going to finish this one. I did not care about the characters. The author wanted to portray psychological confusion, marital indifference and what happened was I was confused and indifferent to the characters and their story.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Many many words, few few scares

I typically LOVE a good horror story, much to the chagrin of my husband when I awake in bed soaked in night sweats. However, the rather boring narration and overly abstract wording in the book sucked all of the horror right out of it. I had to rewind it at several parts as say "wait. . . was that supposed to be scary?". Half of the time, I'll be honest, I had no idea what was even going on. I remember several points where the author would go into these long overly florid metaphors that didn't even make sense and I would think to myself "what the heck is going on?." It felt like maybe the characters were going insane so I wasn't really supposed to know or understand anything. Maybe I was going insane? I kind of thought so by the time the book was (finally) over. Oh and there really is no ending, just a bunch of little "clues" you can go ahead and piece together yourself and hope the book kind of makes sense. I really just wanted a book with a direct story line where a lot of scary stuff happens, and maybe a couple of night sweats. . . . this wasn't it.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good if you like a lot of explative

I felt the ending was unsatisfying but I get where the author was going with it.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Ending was a let down, seemed rushed.

Started off great, but the story fell flat at the very end. Ended abruptly and was expecting more.