There’s Something Wrong with That Speaker

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Emily Martin

Contributing Editor

Emily has a PhD in English from the University of Southern Mississippi, MS, and she has an MFA in Creative Writing from GCSU in Milledgeville, GA, home of Flannery O’Connor. She spends her free time reading, watching horror movies and musicals, cuddling cats, Instagramming pictures of cats, and blogging/podcasting about books with the ladies over at #BookSquadGoals (www.booksquadgoals.com). She can be reached at emily.ecm@gmail.com.

Welcome to Read This Book, your go-to newsletter if you’re looking to expand your TBR pile. Each week, I’ll recommend a book I think is an absolute must-read. Some will be new releases, some will be old favorites, and the books will vary in genre and subject matter every time. I hope you’re ready to get reading!

This one has been on my TBR for quite a while, and I don’t know what took me so long to get around to it, because it’s really hitting all the marks for me. It’s a quick read. It’s a horror novel that’s really about grief. There’s a haunted (?) Siri-like home device. That’s what I knew about this book before I read it. Seriously, I don’t know what kept me away. Anyway, I am so glad I finally got around to it, because this book truly delivered. If you’ve also been thinking about reading this one for a while, do it. And if you’ve never heard of this one before, you should also just read it.

OMG, but what book is it, you ask? Okay, I’m getting to it. Here we go.

this thing between us book cover

This Thing Between Us by Gus Moreno

This Thing Between Us is a little book. Almost square in shape and only 272 pages. But there’s a lot going on within these pages, and this cosmic horror really packs a punch. Just look at that cover. You know something wild is going to happen to these people. And every time you think you have a handle on where this story is going, it takes a big left turn and goes somewhere weirder. Are you in?

When married couple Vera and Thiago buy an Itza — the “world’s most advanced smart speaker!” — for their new condo, Thiago isn’t fully committed to the new contraption. Vera, however, just had to have it. After all, with all of the weird things happening in their home, she thought a high-tech home device would bring them a little joy. [Narrator: It didn’t bring them any joy.]

Instead, with the Itza in their home, things get weirder. Strange packages start showing up at their door, and the Itza plays eerie music and projects strange lights on the wall in the middle of the night. Thiago can’t help but wonder…is the Itza trying to send them some kind of message? Is the house trying to talk to them through their new speaker?

But before Thiago and Vera have a chance to explore the strange happening in their house further, Vera unexpectedly dies, leaving Thiago behind to pick up the pieces and unravel the mysteries of their condo and their demonic Itza all by himself. When things become too intense for Thiago to bear, he does the only thing he can think to do: escape the city and find solace in a secluded cabin in Colorado. But there is no escaping the evil that tore apart his life back in Chicago. It follows him everywhere, and it is slowly causing him to unravel.

This Thing Between Us is such a bone-chilling horror novel featuring imagery that is truly the stuff of nightmares. But this book is also such an intense, emotional exploration of grief. I found myself underlining giant passages from this novel, lines about grief, loss, and love that I will hold close to my heart for the rest of time. The story is told from Thiago’s perspective, as if he is telling the story to his late wife, Vera. In this way, the story gives insight into this marriage even after Vera’s death, and the reader is given an intimate look at how the loss of Vera has lasting effects on Thiago’s psyche.

Just talking about this book makes me want to read it for a second time and get haunted by this strange story all over again. I gave this one five very enthusiastic stars, and I think you’ll love it too.

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