Fever House By Keith Rosson, 448 pgs.

Sep 22, 2023

For those unfamiliar with the author (and Razorcake contributor) Keith Rosson, the best way to describe his writing is it’s what would happen if Stephen King and Philip K. Dick had a baby that grew up to have exceptional writing talent influenced by his fathers. Rosson’s latest, Fever House, is his fifth and heftiest novel. 

The book begins with two leg-breakers in Portland, Ore., heading to collect some money owed to their small-time mob boss by a meth addict. When they collect the money, they also find a severed hand in the freezer. And from there, the world as we know it is on its way to hell. Also playing a role in Fever House is a former rock musician, Katherine Moriarty, whose life was forever changed by the death of her husband (and former bandmate). Their son, Nick, runs errands for the aforementioned mob boss. Adding to this cast (and the plot) are a few government agents running a black ops program connected to this devilish severed hand. 

Rosson’s writing makes for quite the page-turner. (In a podcast Rosson shared that his editor read it in less than twenty-four hours.) That’s not to say there’s no meat to the book, but that it’s engaging and gripping. In addition, there are many intricate plot lines, but it’s never confusing. Occasionally—and this may be my own stupidity—I read books and think, “Wait, who is that?” or “When did they get this item?” but each chapter in Fever House is seen from the point of view of a single character. In doing so, the book creates crisp breaks in the storyline. It also allows for cliffhangers within the book, making it more engaging.

I’m not a big horror fan, but Rosson’s work is inviting for folks like me. Sure, there are creepy sections with blood and occultist acts, but I felt comfortable reading this before bed. Of course, if this was made into a film (and it should be), I could see a lot of blood and gore. 

One thing that made me smile throughout the book was Rosson’s references to the punk and indie scene he’s a part of. Whether it’s Moriarty remembering life on the road in an indie band or one of the band members playing Archers Of Loaf’s Icky Mettle at his houseit was things like that which showed me that although this book may be published by a big book company, Rosson’s feet are firmly planted in the DIY punk scene. Fever House is an enticing, edge-of-your-seat read that is a good choice for anyone into horror, fantasy, or dystopian novels. This is definitely Rosson’s best work yet. –Kurt Morris (Random House)

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