Originally Posted at The Ginger Nuts of Horror
While renovating an old Victorian home, Garrett Jenkins finds an antique box full of vintage 1920s pornography hidden in the walls. Who was the woman in the photos? Is there a connection to the presence Garrett suspects is haunting the home? As curiosity turns to obsession, the restoration of the building suffers. His mother’s life savings and his girlfriend’s hopes for the future are on the line. But with each new discovery, Garrett steps closer to a shattering truth that may end in madness.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day. The Wretched Walls. Dying alone would be better.
”A slow burn about haunted obsession. You’ll spend the last half of the novella terrified of finding out the truth. Kaufman draws you in with his character work so well, you don’t even realize when he’s begun to scare you…”
The story begins by introducing readers to Garrett Jenkins, a teacher who feels unfulfilled in his life. Garrett, with the help of his mother, purchases an old Victorian home. He sets out to completely renovate the old house and in the process, discovers some old pornographic images taken during the 1920s. Completely consumed with the old home and by trying to find out who the woman in the photographs was, Jenkins becomes convinced his house is haunted.
Let’s start with the positive. The characters in this book were very well written and realistic. The dialog was natural and you can’t help but like Garret and feel sorry for him as his life unravels. The scariest moment in the book was toward the end and this moment contained the best line in the book. “Paige’s eyes went impossibly wide as she spoke, her voice raw like sandpaper. “Don’t look behind you,” she said.” That is creepy stuff.
Now, we can move on to the not so good. This story, concisely, was boring. Many scenes built up to what I thought would be some exciting moments but as soon as it reached a peak, it fizzled. It just didn’t work for me. The ending confused me and left me with more questions than answers, although we do find out who the woman in the photographs is.
Wretched Walls is fairly well edited, but there were a couple of sentences I had to go back and reread because of mistakes. For example, “Was there had been any way to undo the damage he caused?” obviously doesn’t make much sense.
Wretched Walls may be the perfect story for those who like their horror a little less horrific and a little more tame, but for me, it was dull and unoriginal.