The house is a steal. Enclosed within a gated community and overlooking a small town, it is just what Barry and his wife Maureen are looking for, a quiet place for Barry to write while Maureen continues her job as an accountant. The price is right, the location is perfect, and while there is a homeowner’s association that they have to join in order to own it, the pair doesn’t see that as much of a problem. Homeowner’s associations are supposed to be a good thing, after all. Sort of like a neighborhood watch meets landlord. Only this association is concerned with a little more than keeping its members safe and the neighborhood clean. This association wants absolute power over all who own homes within its gates, and it will get that power…by any means necessary.
Kind of a mixed bag. There were parts that I was really fond of – that sense of claustrophobia that Barry and Maureen must feel as the association isolates them through fines and spies and the total acceptance of everyone around them. That was beautifully done; their (justified) paranoia and sense of helplessness was palpable, and I too found myself in an impotent rage as I imagined myself in the same position (as you do). However, it all broke down for me at the introduction of the supernatural element. Yes, I get the point. Being part of this association turned its leaders from humans into evil mutations bent on the destruction of anyone and anything that didn’t toe their line. The members are little more than automatons who cannot think without the rule that the associating implements. Methinks that Mr. Little had a few run-ins with a homeowner’s association of his own and that this novel is his revenge. Or maybe not. After all, it isn’t as though this sort of novel is a new concept. What I was really disappointed in was the random sexual elements that were thrown in, because it didn’t add to the story even a little bit. I don’t know, perhaps I am more of a prude than I thought, but I just feel as though the story could have been just as effective without those parts. I don’t mind sex or even sexual perversion in my novels, but I do want it to have a bit of a point. I just felt that it was shoved in for random titillation, and it fell flat to me for that very reason.