Welcome to red wine and books! Where an avid lover of all genres shares with you her opinion on some of the best (and not so great) stories she reads.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: The Hoard by Alan Ryker


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When an accidental fire breaks out in a Kansas prairie plagued by drought, no one thinks anything of it. But what they don't realize is that underneath the piles of trash, a new organism has been holed up, waiting. The fire drives the new organism out, and into the home of local elderly woman Anna Grish. That may have been the end of the new species, as it needs filth to survive  only Anna Grish is a hoarder, and her home is the perfect breeding ground.

After Anna is found by her son, buried alive and injured under piles of her "possessions", she is taken to the hospital, where a concerned doctor calls Adult Protective Services to assess her home conditions. It takes only one visit from Rachel, a worker from APS, to determine that Anna's house is uninhabitable  and Anna is forced to move into her son's home with his wife and two son's.

At first, Anna seems to be adjusting to life with her son and his family. She gets to spend time with her two grandsons, and annoy her daughter-in-law merely by breathing, but it doesn't take long for the family to realize there is something wrong with Anna. First she is found burrowed under her grandson's bed, after moving all of his possessions to the floor, effectively barricading herself inside. And then there is her need to return to her home, a need that no one can stop, even though its been condemned and set for demolition.

When local people start turning up missing, the police immediately begin investigating, but nothing could prepare them for the Hoard.

My Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

The Hoard was a deliciously creepy book, with a completely original idea that was well executed, which made it all the more disappointing when the ending seemed to fall flat and leave the reader with more questions than answers.

I found the character of Peter to be a bit.... annoying though. It is reiterated throughout the book that he is a "good" son, a "loving" son, he even takes his mother Anna supper each night. So how is it that he was unaware of the unhealthy condition of her home? The author stated that after a certain point, Anna would no longer allow her son inside her home, but at the same time, mentioned that Peter and his family had notice an "odor" coming from her. At what point do you step in and see what is really going on? Peter was able to gain access to his Mother's home when she had fallen using a key she did not know he had. Why didn't he use this key earlier? Why was this allowed to go on for as long as it did? Had he only gone in to begin with, the house would have been demolished long before the fire, and the Hoard would have had no place to go.

However, the details of Anna's condition were extremely well written, and it was obvious that the author had done his research on the subject as it was depicted with a realistic understanding and delicacy of the disorder while managing to not overlook the more horrific elements that can happen.

Overall, I did enjoy this book, I felt that it was a quick read as my interest was kept by the originality of the idea, and the way Anna's mental health quickly declined. I found myself unable to put the book down until I had found out what happened to Anna, Peter and the rest of the Grish family.

                   The Hoard is available for purchase from Amazon.com by clicking HERE.


DISCLAIMER: I received an advanced copy of The Hoard in exchange for my honest review. This has not reflected on my review in any way.

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