This redemption tale features 4 of the most unlikable characters you will ever meet. Jack and Stephanie are on their way to a marriage counselor. Jack feels that Stephanie blames him for every little thing wrong in her life. Stephanie seems to feel defensive and guilty, but we don't find out until much later what she feels guilty about. They spend the car ride arguing and muttering under their breath until they run over a spike strip in the road and have to walk to the nearest shelter. By the time Jack and Stephanie reached the House, I was hoping a monster would put a quick end to them. Instead they meet Randy and Lesley, two even more unlikable characters who had been stranded after running over a spike strip several miles on the other side of the house. The House is set up to be a bed and breakfast, but the owners can't be found. The four of them rummage around the house looking for flashlights and other supplies until they find the owner in the pantry. She and her sons are even worse than the four who have been stranded and are called the "inbreeds" for the rest of the book.
This book is reminiscent of a slew of "living house" movies (House on Haunted Hill, for example). There is some originality to the quirks of the house, but many of the features are found in other books and movies. It wasn't until about chapter 25 when the Christian themes began emerging that I started to like the book.
The novel is the basis for the 2008 movie House.