Review Rendezvous: 3/31/18

The House Always Wins by Brian Rouff
Book stats:
Genre(s): Paranormal, contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 215
Publish date: October 10th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository


Anna Christiansen’s small-town life is about to go haywire. A young reporter stuck in a dead-end job, Anna falls head over heels for an interview subject, the bass player in an up-and-coming alt band. In short order, she pulls up stakes, moves to Las Vegas, gets married and pregnant, and moves into a big fixer-upper haunted by the ghost of a Sin City racketeer. That’s when she gets notice from a corrupt casino owner that he’s buying up all the properties on her street to make way for a parking lot. But Anna has poured her heart and soul into the house, and digs in hard to fight the system, not the easiest of tasks in a city where bribery, mayhem, and murder are standard operating procedures. 
Can Anna’s tough-guy ghost provide the help she needs to prevail in this dangerous cat-and-mouse game? Will Anna’s life be left in ruins? Or worse?

Stepping out of my usual bounds for a minute here. Despite the fact that I don’t read much adult fiction, I actually quite liked this. I can’t say I’ve read anything set in Vegas either, so I liked seeing a change in scenery.

At first I wasn’t sure what to think of Anna. She was a bit of a doormat and somewhat unlikeable, but I am proud to say that she did grow and change, settling into a much better persona. She’s not afraid to reach for the things life has to offer, even if that means ditching everything she’s ever known for a shockingly new start.

Her parents actually care about where she’s going, giving her new love the third degree before they even consider letting her step out of the door. But at the same time, it’s made very clear that she will leave regardless, so I applaud Anna for having a backbone. It’s that kind of thing that told me she wouldn’t take the rest of the book lying down.

Anna’s situation is the setup for every tragic backstory ever. She leaves her home because she’s in love with an up-and-coming musician. Barely a few months go by and she’s already pregnant, but in this case, her boyfriend – and soon husband – actually stays around. Of course, the moment when everything seems to fall into place is also the moment when a corrupt casino owner shows up with a notice that he’s going to buy out the properties.

There was much less paranormal involvement than I thought there would be, though there is some to a degree and it does factor into the climax. We also get several pages of the backstory of this ghost through flashback and storytelling, which was interesting but it felt like a lot of “telling” rather than “showing”. While it was interesting to read about everything the ghost went through, I feel like his involvement could’ve been expanded and information revealed more slowly, rather than all at once. Still, this book is good in its own right and I enjoyed it very much.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


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