Review by John Boden
James is a young boy working the summer at his father's hardware store. He's awkward and shy and totally has a crush on Amelia, the girl who comes in one day and leaves after accepting a date proposal from James.
The two decide their date will consist of canoeing across a lake, which is connected to another lake and then a secret third lake. The third is not the pristine and clear calm waters of the first pair. The waters of the third lake are darker, carry a strange stench...and harbor a house beneath their caul. After deciding to dive down and investigate, the two find themselves developing an obsession with the strange dwelling in the lake. They find that obsessions talons firmly gripping their blossoming relationship in a weird and wonderful way. As the weeks roll on and their visits increase in frequency, they come to realize maybe the house isn't empty after all. And also that they've got a little more inside of them that they did before discovering it.
Malerman smacked us all across the face with his debut novel, Bird Box. A strange and brooding novel of isolation and fear and blindness. This short novella has more in common with the work of Neil Gaiman and the voice is rich and honest in its assurance. We feel these kids, their giddiness and almost unwieldy feelings for one another and then later for the house. We swim down through the murky depths and then dive with them into the waters of the lake and do it again.
A House At the Bottom Of A Lake is available from This Is Horror Press.